Shred 4 A Cause
By Mike Harris and Jeff Abbott
8,263 kilometers traveled 3897.1 liters of gas used, 10 pairs of shoes, 144 cans of Red Bull, 8 helmets, 8 sets of bearings, 8 sets of wheels, 12 long-board docks, 6 sets of trucks, 7 rolls of gauze, 2 tubes of Polysporin, too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to keep count of and _ _ _ number of times we heard the hazard lights flash while driving the chase vehicle from May 1 to August 17, 2012. For those of you that don’t know what a long-board is, it is a skateboard which is 40”-60” that is designed for long distance pushing, downhill slalom and downhill sliding. A complete long-board consists of 4 wheels, 2 trucks, 8 bearings and 1 deck.
Now fill a GMC Savannah sponsored by Forbes Motors Waterloo with a whack of gear from Switchback Long-boards ranging from spare parts to extra helmets, leather suites for downhill from NJK Leathers, a generator, an electric heater, a portable stove, first aid and two passionate young men from Waterloo, Ontario with a common goal…Let’s make helmets cool.
Jeff Abbott, 24 and Mike Harris, 28 are “Shred 4 A Cause.” On May 1, 2012, Shred 4 A Cause started its campaign. Their vision was to create awareness for the importance of wearing headgear in sports to reduce the number of brain injuries and raise funds for the Brain Injury Association. They pushed out from Vancouver, BC City Hall at 10:30 a.m. heading east, with the intent of being the first to cross Canada.
Let’s take a second to think about that distance, Vancouver BC, to St. John’s NL, if you have ever done this is a car you would know it’s a mission. Now ask yourself, why would anyone any to travel that distance on a long-board? With both Jeff and Mike having suffered 4 concussions, they knew the consequences of how A.B.I. can change someone’s life forever. From a number of television interviews on CBC, CTV and Omni News including a 5 minute interview with Dr. Marla Shapiro on Canada AM to numerous Radio interviews and Newspaper articles in most of the major markets across Canada they are confident that their journey has made a difference in getting the word out.
During their trek across Canada they experienced what an amazing country Canada is. When they were passing through Winnipeg, MB their van and luck was unfortunately on the wrong end of Karma’s stick. after a visit with Mike’s dad, a much needed hotel, shower and bed to sleep in, they awoke to a morning interview with CBC Winnipeg only to find the van’s back window smashed and everything from long-boards, donated gas to food vouchers were gone. This was a demoralizing blow to the aspect of the trip, but after riding a plank of wood with 4 wheels up and over the Rockies, this would not get them down? From there on it only looked up. ACR Glass replaced the window of the van at no charge, the Winnipeg media got on board to help replace our gear and an epic bonfire, the outreach and support they received from the people who just wanted to make Jeff and Mike’s time and memory of their province more memorable.
Earlier on in the trip in the thick of the Rocky Mountains, the night ended with them coming into the town of Greenwood, BC. Searching for something to eat they found one kitchen that was just closing and a lovely couple that gladly bought them a meal for support and wished them luck with the rest of their journey. Hitting the push hard in the morning, they were riding through the edge of Greenwood and out of the corner of their eyes they saw a school with a couple of kids outside running as fast as they can to catch up with them before they passed. They decided to go back and chat with the kids and before they know it the faculty invites the entire student body out to hear their message. The kids even scrounged up all the money they could to donate to the cause. A whopping 16 cents but it’s the thought that counts. It was the type of moment that lifts a chin one extra notch to know that a difference was made and that Jeff and Mike made their day.
It would take a full book to tell the story about every time someone would offer a meal at a local restaurant or invite them to dinner in their home, a warm bed to sleep and a hot shower in the morning. Canada truly is an amazing place to live and both Jeff and Mike are very proud to be Canadian.
So after a year of planning and 3 and ½ months of Long-boarding across this amazing county we call Canada, their journey is far from over! Canada Tour 2012 was only the beginning of Shred 4 A Cause. Mike and Jeff continue to stand by their cause and spread the message that “Wearing Helmets IS Cool”!
On September 27, 2012 the Brain Injury Association of Waterloo-Wellington had the honor of hearing Jeff and Mike speak at the Hawaiian Mix & Mingle about their journey across Canada. Patti Lehman, Executive Director of B.I.A.W.W. accepted a cheque from Jeff and Mike for $100,000 from the funds they raised on their trek. The BIAWW appreciates the time that Jeff and Mike has spent promoting the awareness that “Wearing Helmets IS Cool” and the funds they presented to us will be used towards the programs that B.I.A.W.W. provides in our community.
Visit the following for more information and view photos and videos of their amazing trek across Canada.
- Shred 4 A Cause on Tumblr.com
- Follow them on Facebook
- Molson In The Community Blog
- Article from the Waterloo Region Record
- Follow them on Twitter
- Watch some incredible footage on You Tube
- Interview with CTV Morning Live