Since 2004, brain injury victim Curtis Anderson of Minburn, Alta., has made it his goal every year to raise funds and awareness of neurological conditions with his Courage Canada Trail Ride. In 2015, Anderson’s western event brought back an impressive crowd of fun seekers to enjoy the last Saturday in May and to support his brain injury awareness campaign. Over the past 11 years, this trail ride has generated $122,485 to fund programs for brain injury sufferers. According to Anderson, the trail ride has grown by leaps and bounds, and it’s encouraging to see that people have embraced and backed this ride for such an important cause.
“I wanted to put brain injury on the map, and I wanted to give a chance for brain injury survivors to be around horses,” says Anderson.
This year the event drew in support from four brain injury centres from across Alberta. On May 30, 75 riders — 12 teams with 74 riders on wagons — experienced a fun-filled day on the prairies to back a cause that can affect anyone at anytime.
Following the trail ride, the Innisfree Community Hall hosted an evening of entertainment, which included a live auction that raised $10,000 for brain injury awareness and a silent auction that generated $3,000 for the Make A Wish Foundation.
Anderson’s personal story is inspiring because this event is part of his mission to give back after experiencing a life-changing brain injury. On June 26, 2002, Anderson survived a traumatic bull-riding accident at the Ponoka Stampede and has since worked to regain his physical mobility. After reclaiming many of his pre-injury abilities, Anderson explained his goals include raising brain injury awareness and inspiring other victims to accomplish their dreams.
Anderson says he’s proud that this event now annually offers an invaluable opportunity for survivors and their families to connect and to enjoy a special day out on the range. “It’s a big day for survivors — it helps to give them a better quality of life.”
Funds from this year’s event will provide support for the L.A.B.I.S (Lloydminster and Area Brain Injury Society), FOCUS in Vermilion, VALID in Vegreville, the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport Medicine Team, and the Halvar Jonson Centre for Brain Injury Inpatient Rehabilitation in Ponoka.
Every year the Courage Canada Trail Ride is hosted on the last Saturday in May, and donations for the cause can be made at ATB Financial or CIBC bank locations in Alberta in the name of the Curtis N. Anderson Trust fund.