Bike to Beat Obesity
Hello! We are Brock Picken and Marta Kasprzyszak, the founders of “Bike to Beat Obesity” for the SickKids Foundation. Our goal is to raise $40,000, specifically to be used for wellness programs for children who are obese. With this event we are striving to raise awareness about Canada's Inactivity and Obesity Crisis.
Please read our story and learn about our passion. We know we can make a difference. Please help us make this possible! Please help us make it possible!
*NEW* Track the progress of Brock's ride, and get photo and blog updates at our MySpace Page
As a youngster growing up in a small country town, Brock spent summers mainly outdoors, playing hide-and-seek in the woods behind his house, biking with friends through the neighbourhood, playing baseball and running around. Being active was fun, and never thought of as “exercise”. Brock’s mom was a single parent, and worked very hard to provide for Brock and his younger brother. Meals were often very simple, but nutritious, consisting of a variety of fruits and veggies. The Picken brothers played many different sports – the ones that mom could afford. Hockey wasn’t an option. Baseball was the favourite sport of both boys.
“I guess you can say that my upbringing had a major impact on my career path. My degree in Sports and Exercise Management from Brock University led me into sports nutrition, and shortly after into personal training. Having worked in the personal training industry for just shy of a decade now, I have noticed alarming trends in our nations obesity rates. Working as closely as I do with so many people has allowed me to experience first-hand the impact obesity has had on many lives. Many parents work overtime hours to make ends meet, and that hectic lifestyle can make a traditional ‘sit-down family meal’ a rare event. Fast food restaurants are more readily accessible than they ever have been, and the convenience factor is inviting to many busy parents. Physical activity becomes less of a priority as lives become busier. I feel like the active childhood I experienced is deserved of all children, yet so little actually experience it. Marta and I feel like we can offer children the tools necessary to continue a healthy lifestyle through adulthood.
Born in Poland, Marta, her brother, and parents moved to Canada when she was only 8 years old. “Fitting in” was difficult, as was learning a new language. Money was hard to come by, and Marta’s parents both worked long hours. The only physical activity Marta got was riding her bike and walking to school. She didn’t play any sports and as a result didn’t participate in school gym classes. Unfortunately, years of inactivity and poor eating habits eventually caught up to her. Although Marta was skinny, which gave the illusion of being healthy, she was actually quite unfit. Her energy was low, yet she became accustomed to feeling that way. It was only 3 years ago that Marta decided she needed a change. She met active and healthy people, who were a positive influence. When she decided to make a positive lifestyle change, someone telling her that she’d “never do it” was all the motivation she needed. To date, Marta has run a half-marathon, cycled from one end of Prince Edward Island to the other, and benefits from a variety of daily exercise. She loves the “rush” she gets from an intense workout, which gives her mental clarity, strength, and tons of energy! “My experiences have and continue to be life changing as a result of encompassing an active and healthy lifestyle.”
We both want to educate and empower as many Canadian children as possible, and work with them to “re-discover” the fun in exercise. A system that is geared towards athletes, or costs a lot of money, fails a large percentage of the population. We both believe that all children deserve to be fit and healthy, and have the right to eat nutritious food. We care about the future of “our” children and we want to help make a difference.
How we are making an impact:
Starting July 1st, 2008, Brock will be cycling from SickKids Hospital in Toronto, going to Victoria, British Columbia (scheduled to arrive July 31st, 2008). Marta will be driving our support vehicle, full of food and supplies. The goal is to raise $40,000 for SickKids Hospital, and to raise awareness about Childhood Obesity. Our event is called: “Bike to Beat Obesity for SickKids”. This can only be possible with the support of friends like YOU, family, and the community. Brock will complete the ride wearing a 40lb weight suit to further increase awareness. Imagine carrying around a kindergarten student on your back -- there are children who over the course of their lifetime, will end up carrying the equivalent in fat, due to a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits.
What we will accomplish:
1. Our main objective is to raise awareness. Childhood inactivity and obesity is increasing at an alarming rate in Canada. Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are all diseases that can occur as a direct result of obesity.
2. Our Goal is to raise $40,000 for SickKids Hospital. The reality is, there are many children who are obese, already sick as a result of being obese, and need treatment in a medical facility. The funds raised will help develop programs for prevention.
3. We will strive to inspire others to take steps towards encompassing a healthy lifestyle and to assist children and young adults in doing the same. Families and communities that exercise together, grow together!
What do we do when it’s all over?
This is just the beginning. Marta and I are planning on implementing a nation-wide public school based child and young adult fitness program. The emphasis will be on becoming more active, learning about nutrition, goal setting, competing within oneself, and making exercise fun! This may seem like a huge mission, but we recognize the importance of a new movement, and it has to start somewhere. The inactivity and obesity problem is a big one, perhaps too big for just us to conquer. But by encouraging people to make changes, and spreading a positive message, more people will join us in our quest to “Beat Obesity.”