Hi, my name is Al McNabb, I am 57 years old retired Fire Fighter for the city of White Rock after 35 years of service. I am now living in South Langley B.C. With my wife June. We have been happily married for 11 years. We have three healthy adult children, Chris, Megan (Dan), Kevin (Cherise) and 2 healthy grandchildren Avery and Jace.
June (a solid rider in her own right) and I have both ridden for Ride2Survive (www.ride2survive.ca ) , this year will be my 7th, and for June this will be her 8th year.
I rode across Canada in 2010, coincidently left Halifax for White Rock to raise funds for Variety The Children’s Charity, the same day as SNKCR departed White Rock.
As I started to write my Bio for this ride I had no intentions of explaining my first wife, Mervi’s cancer but I’ve come to realize that this is the starting point of my drive to raise funds for cancer research. I have been asked many times if I thought raising money for research actually made a difference, this has always been my reply.
Mervi passed due to cancer at the age of 39. Mervi had a rare form of cancer called Ependymoma. This cancer is a pediatric cancer with tumours that are usually intracranial. In rare cases ependymoma can occur in the pelvic cavity, which is where her tumours occurred.
When Mervi’s the biopsy result came back from the 9 tumours the doctors had found the devasting results came back as Ependymoma. Sadly there was no one, doctors included, knew about this type of cancer with the exception of one Oncologist who was based in Boston. The oncologist happened to be in the Vancouver lab when Mervi’s biopsy came through. At the time of Mervi’s diagnosis only 23 people in the world had been documented with this type of deadly cancer. At this time there was devastatingly no treatments or “soup mixture” to slow down or cure this cancer.
I spent hours on the old dial up internet searching for information including the WHO, I finally found a doctor in South Africa who tended to a 15 year old female cancer patient with E but in the form of a brain tumor. I was once again told there was no cure.
At this point looking for any cure or hope for a cure I was on the receiving end of all the “home remedies” of 1996, some seemed logical, some bizzare, some just wanting our money with fake hope. There were however, 2 things we tried that were astounding. One of the old remedies we tried that is used for many ailments was green tea, the other, the bark of a Yew tree. And through research this beautifull tree’s bark was refined for cancer fighting, called Taxol (Paclitaxel) which is now one of the strongest breast cancer drugs today. The fact that I can now go to Google’s menu bar and type in Ependymoma and have Wikipedia spit this information out in a blink of an eye. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ependymoma#Signs_and_symptoms and can now see that Mervi had many symptoms, unfortunately these symptoms that went unnoticed or attributed to other reasons.
This is testament to yes, all the fund raising does produce results, some results are baby steps, some can move mountains save live and families!
In 2015 I listened to a doctor from the Canadian Cancer Society speak to us, Ride2Survive, at one of our rider/volunteer meetings, on childhood cancers. How treatments during a child’s growing period can have life altering consequences for their future. It can have a profound effect on their health, physically and mentally. Far reaching into their adult life. Research is needed on how to administer treatment that will give a child a better quality of life. Children need us to be their advocate for research funding. I believe it is our responsibility to give every child the best chance possible for a better life. “there are those who can, and do”
Sears National Kids For Cancer Ride 2017
In 2015 and 2016 I rode with the groups from White Rock to Abbotsford, wanting to show my support and learn about the event. What I found was a team of heroes, humble and gratefull for life. Some riders are past childhood “ass Kickers”, some riders are parents of children battling cancer, some riding in memory of their child. They were a group of riders with such resolve that no matter how difficult their ride would be, they were there to work together all the way to Halifax, raising as much funds as possible to aid research find a cure. These people are truly inspiring and make the world a better place and give us hope for a cancer free future.
Their resolve has become my resolve for 2017, to find a cure, a better way to manage that cure for children and to inspire others within my circle of influence to become involved in any way, big or small to make a difference. Changes happen one person at a time.
Be the change that you wish to see in the world