In only five hours, 15-year-old Aiden Satterthwaite completed his 41-kilometre unicycle ride from a subdivision near Fintry to his high school in Vernon.
The Grade 10 W.L. Seaton Secondary student completed the lengthy route, the same his bus takes, around 1:15 p.m., Monday, Oct. 12, while many were preparing to sit down for a turkey-filled feast.
And he did it all to raise awareness of the importance of play while raising money to build a park to serve his community.
“I feel good,” he said upon completing the major undertaking.
Satterthwaite’s team, comprised of Mike Cantryn and Jamie Martell, said it was hard to keep up with the young unicyclist at times.
Uphills weren’t an easy battle, Satterthwaite said, but the downhills were especially difficult.
The teen, with just over a year of unicycling experience under his belt, said without brakes or anything to hang onto, riding downhill can be challenging.
Yet, he arrived — early — and in a good mood. He did seem excited to get a ride home.
He was greeted at the school grounds by friends and family and was presented with a bouquet of red roses, cheers and even more donations.
Jason Satterthwaite, Aiden’s father, said the idea to raise funds for a new park was all Aiden’s. While donations continue to collect on Satterthwaite’s GoFundMe campaign, Jason said cannabis shop owners on Westside Road challenged each other to donate to the cause so before the family goes home to a well-deserved meal, he’ll have to make a stop to collect more donations.
“It has been my dream as a small boy to see a playground built,” said Satterthwaite. “I would love to see that happen.”
All the money he raises will be held in trust by the North Westside Community Association. Its parks committee is currently looking at the options of new park development.
“I know I would be gone off to college long before any park is built out here,” he said. “I am doing this fundraiser so the little kids growing up here will be able to enjoy a dream I have long had.”
Satterthwaite launched a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of raising $5,000 toward the project. As of Monday, Oct. 12, more than $3,000 has been raised.
“In the days of Snapchat, Fortnite and Zoom classrooms, I want everyone to remember how important it is to get out and play today,” said Satterthwaite. “To exercise not only your body but to also your mind.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone to stay put, Satterthwaite didn’t sit idly by. Instead, he taught himself how to juggle and continued to improve his skills on his unicycle and he’s training for his black belt in taekwondo, his dad said.
To donate to the development of a new park, visit GoFundMe.com.