April 11

Rebecca Wright
Mar 22, 2014 - 4:28 PM EDT
Last Updated: Mar 24, 2014 - 10:23 AM EDT

For John Sciacca, cycling for five hours straight on a spin bike Saturday morning was a breeze because it was for a good cause.

“It’s just a great way to get some exercise in and raise some money,” said Sciacca as he sweat through his fourth hour during the seventh annual Subway Spinergize for Hospice event held at Caesars Windsor Saturday.

Sciacca said he was fuelled by thoughts of his father-in-law, Russell Musyj, who died a year and a half ago. Sciacca said before Musyj died, he benefited from several of the services offered at Hospice of Windsor and Essex County.

“Until you’re involved and your family is involved, I mean people talk all the time, and it’s not like you have deaf ears, but when it hits home, it’s always a whole different story,” said Sciacca, an avid spinner who has participated in the annual event every year since it began. “So it means a lot to be here.”

Fitness for Hospice co-ordinator John McKibbon Jr. said Spinergize has grown in popularity over the years. The first year drew about 75 people, but this year about 200 participated.

The nearly $38,000 raised at this year’s event – a record amount that surpassed their goal of $35,000 – will support the Just for Kids programs at Hospice.

Hospice’s Kids House, is a place for children to explore illness, grief and bereavement in an age-appropriate manner, furthering their understanding of what is occurring and facilitating family communication. All of the programs are offered free of charge and are designed to help bring back some normalcy and stability into the lives of children affected by a life-altering diagnosis.

“Hospice does get funding from the provincial government, but it isn’t quite enough,” said McKibbon. “So the reason Hospice can provide such fantastic services is because of fundraising events like this.”

McKibbon said participants signed up as individuals or teams and spun for a minimum of one hour, while about a dozen, including Sciacca, spun for the entire five hours of the event. Blaring upbeat music and motivating instructors encouraged the riders, who enjoyed a nice view of the Detroit River through sprawling floor-to-ceiling windows in the lobby of Augustus Tower at Caesars Windsor where the event was held.

Back for a second year, Monique Romanowski said she dedicated her gruelling ride to her mother, who has cancer.

“She’s had cancer surgery 27 times and three different types of cancer,” said Romanowski about her mother. “She’s used the services at Hospice several times, and the help and support from them has really been good.”

Like Sciacca, Romanowski also rode for five hours straight Saturday, alongside friends Melanie Booker and Dorie Deslippe, whose mother passed away from cancer 13 years ago.

Deslippe said while her mother didn’t use the services at Hospice, she knows many in the community who have and “really couldn’t do without it.” She said it’s just heartbreaking to see kids have cancer, but she’s happy though Saturday’s spinning event, she helped fund programs at Hospice to make their tough journey a bit easier.

“The way I look at it is I’m done in five hours, they’re not,” said Deslippe. “They still have to go through the chemo and the sickness and everything, so really, this five hours is the least I could do.”

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tags: spinathon, hospice