Bik­ers bring smiles at Wharf Rat Rally

Res­i­dents of long-term care fa­cil­i­ties thrilled with op­por­tu­nity to be in­volved

Truro Daily News - - PROVINCE - BY IAN FAIRCLOUGH

When An­ge­line Sill saw the gleam in her hus­band’s eyes as he sat down in a motorcycle side­car, she couldn’t help but tear up.

“He loved it, he had a grin on his face from one ear to the other,” she said.

Kent Sill is a res­i­dent of the Heart of the Val­ley long-term care fa­cil­ity in Mid­dle­ton, where motorcycle celebrity Kevin Bean’re led a group of bik­ers to of­fer rides to res­i­dents. The pro­gram, called Share the Wind, is part of the events dur­ing the Wharf Rat Rally in Digby this week.

Liv­ing with Parkin­son’s dis­ease, Sill can’t move on his own. So four bik­ers picked him from his wheel­chair and placed him in the side­car for a spin on Wednesday.

“He’s a very quiet man and they just made his day,” An­ge­line said Thurs­day. “He is still happy to­day. He’s still smiling when we talk about it.”

She said her hus­band doesn’t talk very much these days, “but they told him to do a thumbs-up and he did a thumbs-up. It made my day, too, I was so ex­cited. I had tears in my eyes.”

Tracy Fra­zier, the fa­cil­ity’s re­cre­ation direc­tor, said 20 of the 49 res­i­dents took part in the ride.

“It was a huge hit,” she said.

“They took ev­ery­one who wanted to get in. It was an ab­so­lutely amaz­ing day.”

She said events like that mean a lot for res­i­dents of long-term care fa­cil­i­ties, who are of­ten for­got­ten and need ac­tiv­ity.

“It helps with ev­ery­thing. It

helps with sleep­ing, it helps with be­hav­iours,” she said. “It helps the staff, it helps the fam­i­lies.”

It’s the first time the side­cars were used for giv­ing rides to res­i­dents, said Wharf Rat Rally ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Laura Sim­mons.

“We try to take the rally to the

peo­ple who can’t come in,” she said.

Rally events started hap­pen­ing Tues­day and con­tinue to Sun­day. Sim­mons ex­pects up to 8,000 peo­ple in the town for each day of the event ex­cept to­day, when the num­bers are closer to 15,000.

Kent Sill is smiles af­ter be­ing placed in a motorcycle side­car for a ride, at the Heart of the Val­ley long-term care fa­cil­ity in Mid­dle­ton Wednesday. At right is motorcycle celebrity and Wharf Rat Rally am­bas­sador Kevin Bean’re, who drove the bike.

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