On Sunday, Aug. 4, blind cyclist Craig Aucoin began the ride of a lifetime. Departing St. John’s, N.L., Aucoin and his good friend and cycling partner, Lloyd McLean, began their 85-day, 8,450 km bicycle tour across the country.

Aucoin and McLean will arrive in St. Peter’s, N.S. for a Craig Gives Back community celebration hosted by St. Peter’s Home Hardware Building Centre at 9976 Grenville Street, St. Peter’s at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 12.  

Their national ride is raising awareness and funds for three major Canadian charities that Aucoin credits for changing his life: CNIB, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind and YMCAs in Canada.

“Craig Gives Back is a wonderful national initiative, yet made in Nova Scotia by two guys from Pictou County. Craig and Lloyd are doing Nova Scotians proud while inspiring Canadians from coast-to-coast with their amazing cross Canada ride. We are so thankful for Craig’s efforts to raise funds for three national charities that have helped him to be where he is today,” said Warren Spires, Atlantic Director of Fund Development at CNIB’s Halifax office.

Aucoin is the first blind Canadian to cycle across the country on a two-wheeled bicycle, but the journey to get here hasn’t always been easy.

Born with the incurable eye condition, retinitis pigmentosa, Aucoin was able to live a normal, active childhood until age 15 when his condition worsened leaving him completely blind. This affected Aucoin both physically and emotionally.

“The YMCA of Cape Breton is overwhelmed by the support from Craig and Lloyd for the YMCA Strong Kids campaign. Children will continue to access childcare, physical activity and camp because of the incredible act of generosity by these two volunteers. They will long be remembered between Sydney and Port Hawkesbury for helping one in four children who need the YMCA but may not have the financial means to afford Y programs,” said Andre Gallant, CEO at YMCA of Cape Breton.

Aucoin and McLean are travelling over 8,450 km cross-country on the Altena Janus, a back-to-back recumbent tandem bicycle – the only one of its kind in Canada. The pair will arrive in Victoria, B.C. on Oct. 27, 2013. Canadians will have the opportunity to meet Aucoin and McLean along the way at community receptions hosted by Home Hardware.

For more information on the Craig Gives Back-to-Back Cross Canada Bicycle Tour or to donate, please visit craiggivesback.ca and ‘like’ Craig Gives Back on Facebook at facebook.com/craiggivesback.

To donate $5 on your mobile phone, text 45678 with keyword CRAIG.

About the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind
Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind (CGDB) is a national, non-profit, registered, charitable organization that assists visually-impaired Canadians with their mobility by providing and training them in the use of professionally trained Guide Dogs.

About CNIB
CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life.

About the YMCA
YMCA Canada is a registered charity dedicated to building healthy communities by nurturing the potential of children, teens and young adults, promoting healthy living, fostering social responsibility in order to create lasting personal and social change.

Media contact:
Amelia Schofield, Craig Gives Back
Office: (902) 453.1480 ext. 5727
Mobile: (902) 403.2493