NANAIMO — Long live Chainsaw.
Those three words spark a wide array of emotions for many, 12 months after Nanaimo's Steve Smith passed away in hospital in Victoria following a dirt bike accident.
On the one-year anniversary of the 26-year-old's tragic passing, more support is being thrown behind efforts to ensure the legacy of the man nicknamed the Canadian Chainsaw continues.
Devinci Cycles, one of Smith's major sponsors, announced Wednesday they will match all donations to the Stevie Smith Legacy Fund over the next 30 days up to $10,000.
"Stevie's story, from not only a small community but fairly meager upbringing to where he got himself to, obviously quite the sweetheart story," Steve Mitchell, Devinci BC sales rep, told NanaimoNewsNOW.
"For us being a small Canadian company too, certainly was a great match...Small town boy, small Canadian company makes history in the world of cycling, I mean you couldn't have made a better story, with an obviously tragic ending."
Mitchell was in Nanaimo Wednesday to join friends and family at the Beban Park site where the Stevie Smith Community Bike Park is under construction. He said it has been a surreal year coming to grips with the loss of Smith.
"He achieved a lot in his short life...The legacy we want to carry on is promoting the sport of cycling and helping other people realize their dreams. Support those things in Nanaimo and whatever communities we can, wherever this foundation grows to."
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Legacy Fund founder Michelle Corfield said they have raised more than $100,000 over the last year. She said they have already supported several causes, including local cycling groups and riders. Plans for the future are still coming together.
"It was all about getting to today...one year since we lost Steve. We didn't want to take on too much too soon," Corfield said.
She said the bike park is "coming together awesomely," thanks to the hard work of dedicated volunteers and a huge amount of help from the community. The dirt jump track should be ready by mid-June, the pump track by the end of July and an official grand opening is set for Aug. 9.
"Steve gave so much to the sport of mountain biking and to our brand, it feels natural for us to match that dedication by engaging the community to rally behind a good cause and a great person,” said Devinci CEO Yvan Rodrigue.
Smith was born in Cassidy and went on to become a legend in the downhill mountain biking world. He became the first Canadian every to capture the UCI overall World Cup Championship in 2013.
By early evening, more than 30 donations had been made to the Legacy Fund Wednesday alone. You can donate here.
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