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To Support CASA, 70-Year-Old Cycles from Toronto to San Miguel

By Mark O’Neill

Not many people kick off their eighth decade with a 2,500-mile cycling adventure, but that’s Torontonian John Murtaugh’s big birthday goal. He wants to raise at least US$25,000 for his favorite charity, Amistad Canada.

Murtaugh was inspired by the documentary film CICLO, which tells the story of two Mexican brothers, Arturo and Gustavo Martinez, who cycled from Mexico City to Toronto back in 1956. They remained in Canada, married, and raised their families there. Several years ago, filmmaker Andrea Martínez Crowther persuaded her father and uncle to retrace their journey. After seeing the film, Murtaugh, who is himself an experienced long-distance cyclist, decided to take the same trip, but in reverse. Hence Bi-CICLO.

John Murtaugh’s late wife, Elizabeth Harris, was one of the founders of Canadians for CASA, now known as Amistad Canada. Amistad’s purpose is to provide a way for Canadians to support Mexican partner organizations operating various social and education projects in and around San Miguel de Allende in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato.

Three of the projects are run by CASA (Centro Para Adolescentes de San Miguel de Allende). Amistad contributes to the salaries of the School of Midwifery clinical coordinator, the library coordinator, and one of the anti-violence team psychologists. The US$25,000 Murtaugh hopes to raise will pay those three salaries for an entire year.

Murtaugh will leave the Pitman Hall Quadrangle at Ryerson University in Toronto on September 15, Mexican Independence Day. Then, after 40 days of steady cycling, he aims to arrive at CASA’s headquarters in San Miguel in time for Day of the Dead (November 1 and 2).

Supporters can follow his journey via the Amistad website and the Bi-CICLO Facebook page. Tax-deductible donations can be made at in the USA

Please indicate that you are contributing to the fund for Bi-CICLO for Amistad.


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