Community is important to Park Place Seniors Living. Just as we believe it is important to provide enriching communities for our senior residents, we also believe it is important for us to enrich our wider communities, whether locally or as part of the global village.
This page celebrates the many community initiatives supported by Park Place Seniors Living, either as a company or by individuals within the company.
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A determination to conquer cancer pushed two volunteer fundraisers – both affiliated with Park Place Seniors Living – to complete gruelling two-day Rides to Conquer Cancer.
Rizwan Gehlen, Vice President of Finance for Park Place Seniors Living, completed the B.C. ride, pedaling his bike the 260 km route from Vancouver to Seattle. Adam Milner completed the 180 km Alberta ride, pedalling along the “Cowboy Trail” from Calgary to just north of Lundbreck, Alberta. Adam is the son of Meg Milner, who is the site leader for Park Place’s Mountain Lake Seniors Community in Nelson, B.C.
Rizwan’s ride started at 7:30 a.m. Saturday when he and 1,700 other riders started their trek from the Guildford Mall in Surrey. Riders came from B.C. and Washington State to support this first-time cancer fundraiser.
Packed closely together, they rode through Surrey and along the ocean past White Rock to Blaine. It took two hours to cross the border, Rizwan noted. He was also delayed by a flat tire.
“The scenery was great since a lot of the biking was bordering the ocean,” he reported. The weather was also excellent on the first day as the group pedalled through the lower mainland and into Washington State.
After eight hours of biking, Rizwan reached the overnight camp site in Mount Vernon, Washington. Hundreds of tents had been set up, there was dinner, motivational speeches and professionals offering massage and chiropractic services to help sore bikers.
At 7:30 a.m. the next morning, Sunday, the bikers were back on the road, pedalling south to Seattle and the end of the ride at the University of Washington.
Two sudden hail storms on the Sunday were the most difficult obstacle, Rizwan said. By the second hail storm, he was just 40 km from the finish line and already exhausted. “I was tempted to pull over but you just keep pushing your way through it.”
But he pushed through and finished the ride. He noted approximately 200 of the 1700 riders did not complete the ride. Although Rizwan trained for the event, he said the eight hours of daily biking was challenging, especially the hills and the hail. “It took a lot of stamina to get through.”
Through pledges, Rizwan raised $7,000 towards cancer research. “I was very humbled by the contributions,” he said, adding that many pledges came from cancer survivors, who shared their stories.
The B.C. ride raised a total of $6.9 million for the B.C. Cancer Foundation. Money raised by B.C. riders will go to support research and patient care at the B.C. Cancer Agency. Money raised by U.S. riders will be donated to the Canary Foundation to support early detection cancer research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle.
A week later, the Alberta Ride to Conquer Cancer also raised $6.9 million to support research and patient care at the Alberta Cancer Foundation. Adam Milner was among the 1,742 riders who pedalled away from the Deerfoot Inn and Casino in Calgary at 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
Adam joined the ride in memory of his uncle, who had been a mountain biker, and who lost his battle with cancer in the summer of 2008. For that reason, he chose to complete the ride on a mountain bike, despite being offered many road bikes. For the final leg of the ride, he wore his uncle’s jersey.
During the ride, he proudly reported passing many high-end road bikes and pulling into the overnight camp at the Bar U Ranch at 1 p.m. Although Adam completed the 100 km distance in five hours, he noted some riders didn’t reach the camp until 6 p.m.
“My butt was sore (after 5 hours.) I couldn’t imagine what type of pain they would be feeling. And to do it all again the next day…”
The tent city at the Bar U Ranch had room for more than 2000 people, including the riders and an estimated 200 volunteers. Tractor trailers bought in showers and organizers had erected massive tents for dining.
At 7 a.m. Sunday morning, Adam was among the first riders to hit the road. He hoped the early start would help him avoid the winds in the Crowsnest Pass area. No luck. He describes the next 60 km of the rid as “head-on winds and seemingly endless hills.”
When the group finally left the foothills for the prairies, the wind stayed with them. Adam reported pedalling flat-out, but only achieving 15 km per hour compared to his 28 km per hour the day before.
“I was finally able to pull across the finish line at 11 a.m. as one of the first hundred or so riders.” The ride ended at the Sierra West Cabins and Ranch Vacations, just north of Lundbreck, Alberta. Adam was wearing his uncle’s jersey when he crossed the finish line, the first mountain bike rider to complete the ride.
He trained for several months before the ride, urged on by the memory of his uncle and the support of his sponsors. He raised $6,166.
He noted the participants included some people who had survived cancer and some people currently battling the disease and marvelled that they were able to complete the exhausting challenge.
“I’m not sure if the organizers of the ride planned on the horrific winds to be a metaphor for the battle over cancer and the road to being cured, but it worked for me,” he said. “I have a profound respect for the strength of body and mind in what it takes to beat this disease.”
As a company, we value our employees, our communities, and accept responsibility for contributing to others.
At left, some of Park Place's senior executives join with family and friends in the 25th annual World Partnership Walk to end Global Poverty.
The Vancouver Walk drew an estimated 10,000 participants and raised $2 million. The event is sponsored by the Aga Khan Foundation.
In keeping with Park Place's "family" philosophy, employees were encouraged to invite spouses and children to participate in the event as part of the Park Place tem.