CAN Fund has raised millions of dollars for Canadian athletes attempting to reach the summer and winter Olympic Games since it began in 1997. Hesjedal benefitted from the program in 2004 when he competed in mountain biking and when he learned that seven cyclists were on the waiting list in 2012, decided to pay it forward.
Auctioning off the maglia rosa he earned on Stage 7 of the Giro d'Italia earlier this year, the first ever by a Canadian, Hesjedal raised $10,300. Half of the proceeds went directly to Ramsden who will be making her Olympic debut in the women's road race. The remainder of the money raised went to Hesjedal's own charity, Ryder's Cycling Society of Canada.
"It was really cool," Ramsden said in a release sent out by CAN Fund on Tuesday. She will be joined in the road race by Clara Hughes and Joelle Numainville.
"I saw that he was auctioning off his pink jersey and proceeds were going to CAN Fund, even before I knew it was even involving me, and I thought it was great that he was doing that and giving back to Canadian athletes. Then when I found out I was the recipient I was very excited and happy. What he's doing is fantastic. I'm very grateful that other people will get a chance to benefit from RCSC going forward as well."
Ramsden received an additional $1000 from CAN Fund so is supported to the tune of $6000.
"I am very pleased to be able to give back to the cycling community and in particular support an up and coming female rider such as Denise," Hesjedal said.
"I want cycling to continue to grow in Canada and I can't think of any better way than to support our young riders achieve their dreams, just as I was able to achieve mine."