Beginning on June 8, 2018, 100 Canadians will participate in the Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC) Battlefield Bike Ride (BBR), travelling through Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, to honour the service and sacrifice of those who had served with United Nation Protection Force (UNPROFOR). More than 40 BBR participants served during this conflict, for many, it will be the first time they’ve been back since.
The 600-kilometre bike ride will take place over the course of a week, June 8 to 16. Riders will travel through Sarajevo, Mostar, Makarska, Kastel Luksic, Drinovci, Gospic and ending in Plitvicka Jezera.
Todd McGowan, BBR ’18 Ride Director and 27-year Veteran, became involved four years ago. He was approached by WWC Executive Director, Scott Maxwell, to make BBR the primary annual fundraiser for WWC.
“As a 27-year veteran with PTSD, I was significantly assisted by one of the programs we now raise funds for, and I believe they helped prevent one more veteran suicide. Me,” said McGowan. “I am eternally grateful for all they did for me and having the opportunity to give back to this amazing charity was an easy decision.”
The annual fundraising goal for the BBR is $400,000, and McGowan said they expect to be close to the goal for this year, if not better. All the funds raised go directly to supporting Canadian First Responders and Veterans suffering from mental health issues as a result of their service.
Over 20 years ago, McGowan dedicated more than a year of his life to serving in Bosnia and Croatia and said it was a very difficult time to be there, as a soldier or civilian.
“I am hoping our riders take home a better understanding of the commitment our nation has made in supporting peace operations around the world. Both countries today are in a much better place as a result of the efforts and sacrifice of the 40,000 Canadian peacekeepers who served there,” McGowan added.
McGowan said this year’s BBR is expected to be a little tougher than the last one that took place in Vimy Ridge, and he’s been training for this year’s ever since.
“It is very hilly, rugged and beautiful terrain,” McGowan added. “These are truly special and memorable events for any and all Canadians to participate in.”
For more information about Battlefield Bike Ride ’18, or to learn how you can sponsor a rider, visit their website here.