“He wanted something she wasn’t willing to give” Rob Hood, 63, tells SaultOnline.com. He remembers Maddie as a bright young woman who was just about to spread her wings. “We always planned on doing some sort of adventure together”
One of those adventures was a cross Canada tour of some kind.
This Summer, he’s doing just that. “I’m riding with her soul and her spirit”
“Even today when I’m doing this ride, I still can’t believe this actually happened”
Hood is at the halfway point of his “Riding With Maddie” tour. Part awareness, part grieving process, Hood left Vancouver on May 17th to tell Maddie’s story and to bring awareness to the United Way and what it does for communities across Canada.He plans to finish his ride in August in Halifax, where Maddie was born.
Following her death the St. Catherine’s United Way established a fund that grew to over $15,000 – that money will go towards other young people work experience with a non-profit organization. Any money raised during his cross country ride will go toward that fund.
Hood, doesn’t have a monetary goal in mind, he collects donations along the way and even sends out tax receipts to those who want one. Hood stopped over at the Sault Ste. Marie United Way office Monday but was back on the road late Monday evening.
“I decided that I want to make something positive out of a very tragic event and I want to honour my daughter because she had so much potential” Hood said. “It’s more than a bike ride”
Hood is looking forward to making his way to St. Catherine’s where his son Andrew 24, will join him on his last leg of the ride. Andrew started the ride with his Father to Regina, when he returned to Kamloops B.C. for his convocation. Together they will finish the ride and Hood gets emotional about the thought, “there’s a lot of emotions along the way but I can feel the emotions rising now just talking about that”
Maddie lived her first few years in Halifax and Hood knows that the memories will come flooding back as he and his son ride to the east coast.”it’s going to bring up all sorts of memories as a family and the wonderful days of just hanging out”
Those who want to follow Rob and Andrew’s journey along with the spirit of Maddie can check out