During the inaugural Kilometres for CCD, 8 Days of Wellness in 2021, Community Care Durham’s CEO James Meloche cycled through every municipality, travelling more than 100 km daily.
But it wasn’t the distance James traveled that resonated with him. Rather it was the connections he made with people he met along the way and seeing the reach CCD has across Durham Region.
“That really brings home your job. When you can personalize what you do and see the communities you’re a part of, it enhances your connection to the purpose of what you’re doing,” he said.
It’s part of his job that he loves and one of the reasons he came to CCD three years ago. He said being part of a team and making an impact in the community is humbling.
“When you meet someone and talk about what you do, you feel a sense of pride in your mission because you are contributing to the wellbeing of your community. Our work is noble, and there is integrity to it. It’s what brings people to CCD,” he said.
Kilometres for CCD encourages participants to walk, roll, or cycle, between Sept. 24 to Oct. 1, culminating in the in-person event on Oct. 1 at Purple Woods. Every donation raised through the fundraiser helps CCD provide support services for individuals who have needs related to aging, physical and/or mental health, and those caring for them.
In this year’s Kilometres for CCD, James plans to cycle throughout the week with friends and colleague Vasily Zadorojnyi. He’s unsure if he will be doing the same daily plan as last year, as he is coming off an injury. For sure he is riding at the Purple Woods in-person event on October 1.
“What I’m excited about is the venue (Purple Woods). It’s right in the middle of Durham region and provides space for walk/roll participants and cyclists alike. I think it’s going to be a fantastic day,” James said.
James is designing two cycling routes based on his knowledge of the area – one 65 and another 130 km route. The routes will take cyclists through some of the lesser-known roads of Durham – through forest trails, country roads, and farmlands. Autumn colours will be coming through making for a scenic adventure.
It will be a challenging day through Scugog, Uxbridge, and a number of the municipalities. “My friends and I like to ride this area because it is quiet, scenic and lots of fun. I think it’s going to be a very memorable day,” he said.
And what would a ride be without a coffee shop pitstop? James said there would be one or two of those, including a pitstop at Purple Woods for those doing the longer ride.
“The coffee experience is a big part of the cycling culture,” he said.
Those breaks allow James to connect with people and be an ambassador, not only for cycling but also for CCD.
“We don’t want to underestimate the impact of those relationships that we can form. Sometimes the bicycle or any activity can help us build bridges and relationships,” he said.
Take last year, for example. Uxbridge Deputy Mayor Willie Popp connected with James and accompanied him and Vasily on one of their rides. Wille Popp knew of James through the cycling community, but this was the first time they cycled together. It led to a $1,000 donation through Uxbridge’s Golf Tournament Fundraiser, a donation they matched this year.
“To me, being outdoors, getting around, just connects you to your community and sometimes that can lead to a benefit for Community Care Durham,” James said.
James said it’s important to build relationships in our community, and Kilometres for CCD gives us a perfect opportunity to do just that.
“Kilometres for CCD is an open invitation for people to participate in an event that says we are here to support our community in a different way, that is fundraising. It furthers our mission and vision, and that is a noble cause,” he said.
To register, donate to the event, sponsor, or for more information, visit communitycaredurham.on.ca/kmsforccd.