National Kids Cancer Ride

Day 12 + 13-

Hey guys and gals! 

Sorry for the delay on getting to you. Yesterday was a big and busy day. It always is. Our Toronto day. My “family day”  

We woke up in Barrie and it was warm again. I’m not use to this heat on this ride! I mean I’m gaining sick tan lines. What do you think?  My arms are even sexier… 

This morning brings a lot of my “why” in. First off, I had the absolute pleasure of finally meeting Veronica. Remember Dan from my flight out? He was my pilot… he knew Harrison’s dad. 

Meet Super H,

The memory of Harrison McKinnon consumes the hearts of those who knew him like a storm on a summer night. With his inquisitive nature, crinkled nose, and animated gestures – Harrison was a kid who won strangers over in an instant and was the personification of love and hope to his parents, Barrett and Shannon. 

Shortly after his first birthday, Harrison was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Over the course of the next year and a half, he endured endless procedures, treatments, and hospital stays. At one point, his little body was declared cancer free and a blissful summer filled with toddler fun ensued – long overdue visits with friends and family, new daycare adventures, parks and playgrounds, home. But when the cancer returned and several chemotherapy treatments failed, a stem cell transplant was the final hope. 

While the transplant showed little signs of success, he was confirmed cancer free for a second time. But, as is common with childhood cancer patients, it was the result of the side effects of many treatments and an opportunistic infection that would be too much for Harrison to fight. On June 17, 2017, after a battle with cancer lasting more than half his life, Harrison was finally “all done ow-ies”.

Harrison Ivor McKinnon

September 15, 2014 – June 17, 2017

Brynnley and Bryson, Veronica’s kiddos also came super early with treats with a Super H on them and a horn for me. Thank you SO much for showing up and being a part of this magic. 

Yesterday we rode for Taissa, a beautiful 13 year old girl filled with hope, strength, courage and determination.  I met her mom Ulana in 2010, the year they rolled through Calgary and I went and spoke. Who knew the NKCR bug would have infected me THIS much. It was that day that I outwardly admitted I would do this for the first time in 2013… post nursing school. Now here we are round 3 and I couldn’t be more lucky because I meet people like Ulana who go to the end of the earth to change their story.. When Taissa was born she had complications and her parents were told she would never walk or talk. Defying doctors Taissa grew up walking, talking, running and dancing, skiing, skating, laughing and loving. In April of 2000 at the age of 12 she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma – a parents worst nightmare becoming a reality. Cancer.   During her treatments her parents prayed she kept her somewhat feisty yet carefree spirit. Her parents stood by her side as she fought her battle for, and of, her life. Although there were numerous miracles along the way that restored her energy and spirit, sadly they did not last. Taissa passed away on Thursday, March 29, 2001 at the age of 13. 

As we were doing our morning thing, I turned and saw Lorraine. If you have followed this journey you know Adam. If you don’t know Adam… well let me tell you. He is my friend who got me into this. Post his bone marrow transplant he came to my first Tour For Kids. He pushed me upChoceane Hill… 6 MONTHS post transplant (yes if you are a BMT patient reading this it is all about your mind set). Adam passed away in March 2012… 2 years after I met him and I couldn’t let my friend down. I had to do this for us in 2013. 

 “If you don’t fight the fights that you may not win, how can you call yourself a champion?” AJF

Toronto is all about my wheel family. From years past to now. It’s like you collect family on this ride. 

Sick Kids… wow well first off Toronto Police you get a large or well done. There is only 2 people that Lake Shore gets shut down for; the Queen and Priminster… and US! We cruises for 35km with no traffic passing us and we blew through every red light. It’s pretty amazing the exposure this gets the cause… people filming us like we are celebrities. Wait… we ARE. We are crusaders for our kids in this big fight. So if you saw a sea of red hammering to downtown Toronto that was us. 

On areival to Sick Kids Ivy, a kiddo I met in Halifax in 2015 was there to lead us all in. Lump in throat. There is so much strength and determination in this kid. She says to me “I’m going to do this every year until I can ride”. Heck yes! Well then we took prettt photos 

I also met Owen. He is crazy amazing. He wants to be a lawyer or accountant when he grows up. He also is pretty famous for being one of the first accrued to the car-t-cell therapy protocol for relapsed ALL… his bone marrow transplant is on September 28. His favourite braver bead? His hair loss one. He has over 1600 beads for all his treatments, tests and chemos and this journey isn’t over for him just yet….what’s this treatment you talk of your ask! Well it’s a type of treatment in which a patient’s T cells (a type of immune system cell) are changed in the laboratory so they will attack cancer cells- bad ass genetically modified cancer killing cells. 

End of day 12…

Today I don’t have many photos as we worked our little buns off. My legs felt like lard. I named them Besty and Bessy and told them they were bad. It honestly was the first day I felt them badly at all. Good news? I don’t have cancer so HTFU. 

The best part about today was Katie’s mom cheering us on. Thank you! My legs and heart needed it… mind over body today big time. 

 Day 13 – Newcastle, ON to Belleville, ON – today we ride for Katie, a typical 15 year old girl in her first year of high school. In the spring of 2010 she began to complain of knee pain. It came and went and since she had just finished basketball and volleyball season didn’t think much of it. Finally she went to see a doctor who sent her for an X-ray and MRI thinking it maybe cartilage damage. The initial X-ray showed something suspicious and another one was ordered indicating something was seriously wrong and she was sent to Mount Sinai Hospital to a special Sarcoma unit. On June 7, 2010 she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – the same cancer as Terry fox. After 4 months of treatment it was clear conventional chemo was not working and she was sent to Sick Kids. In January 2011 Katie and her family were told there was nothing more they could do for her, yet she lived everyday to its fullest and even had an early sweet 16 birthday party. On February 10, 2011 just 8 months after her diagnoses and 6 weeks before her 16th birthday Katie passed away at Sick Kids surrounded by family and friends😢❤️

Water, flowers, heat, rollers- my theme for the day. 

We ended our day at the Sears distribution centre where we were presented with a $10,000 from the associates. 

Also Marlow was there and she is amazing. We met in 2015 and how can you not love this face! 

Anyways, I’m tired and need to sleep. 

Theme of the day 

Love love. 

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