Off-road enthusiasts riding for local firefighter in the first annual Ice Road Exhibition
Local off-road enthusiasts are preparing for a journey down Alberta’s Winter Road for Fort McMurray Firefighter Wacey Morrison in the first annual Ice Road Expedition from February 21 to February 23.
Driving the Alberta’s Winter Road for ‘a cause’ has been a tradition amongst various local motorists’ groups since 2009, which have involved members from the Oil Country Cruisers, Tarsand Toyotas and McMurray Dirt Riders Association (MDRA). The upcoming event will be unlike the previous ones because some of the members will be driving motorcycles. Past events have raised funding for Waypoints, the Wood Buffalo Food Bank and the Fort McMurray SPCA.
This year’s event-fundraising focus is on Morris. Morris was paralyzed from the waist down after suffering a back and spinal cord injury in May 2017. He has been taking part in aggressive rehab and has been recently accepted into a stem cell treatment facility in Panama City, Panama, with hopes to regain strength in his legs.
For the past week, family and friends have been rallying together on his GoFundMe Page – Help Get Wacey Back on His Feet – to raise funding for the $46,000 medical treatment and trip expense.
Event organizer Mike Haberoth has been involved with off-roading groups and their charity initiatives since moving to the city 12 years ago. When he heard about Morris’ medical costs, he and his fellow riders – which now includes other local firefighters – wanted this trip to honour raising funds for someone who has given a lot back to the community and needs its help.
“Being a fellow firefighter, I feel the same in brotherhood with him. My wife is also a nurse at the hospital. With the amount of stuff that’s out there – and that we both see first-hand, it’s often the things that are right in front of us that are overlooked,” said Haberoth. “It’s a small thing to do for someone who does so much for others.”
The three-day exhibition is a 400-kilometre trip from Fort McMurray to Fort Smith. Three participants will be driving motorcycles and two will be joining in trucks. Haberoth explained they want to be prepared for the distance and weather. The group will spend one night in Fort Chipewyan, one night in Fort
Smith, and then make their way back to Fort McMurray.
The members have created a Facebook group called ‘Ride North Moto’ to track the planning and journey for the Ice Road Exhibition. To help promote Morris’ GoFundMe page, the group will be giving out ‘Ride North Moto’ sticker decals to anyone who makes a donation. They can be picked up at Kazaam – Skate & Snow Sporting Goods located at #303-9612 Franklin Avenue.
Donations can be made directly online at www.gofundme.com/help-get-