I have a passion for cycling and wanted to put this passion to good use. My interest started as a physical challenge to ride in the Tour for Kids but it quickly became a way to assist children and families dealing with Childhood cancer. Tour for Kids lead to the bigger challenge of the National Kids Cancer Ride. I became involved with the organization approximately 10 years ago and realized there is a lot of work that needs to be done to fight cancer in children.
With this ride I made many friends who have been touched by childhood cancer. Many have lost a child. Where there should be joy in watching their children grow, there is pain in their hearts.
We will ride from Vancouver to Halifax, cycling relay style over 18 days. We will cycle approximately 3000 Kilometres to raise funding and awareness to benefit childhood cancer research. This is not only a challenging ride but also a terrific support mechanism for children and their families living with childhood cancer. The National Kids Cancer Ride allows for great things to happen with the research dollars raised. For example, it provided funding for the new children’s oncology unit at the Winnipeg hospital and has been a large contributor to the research dollars required at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
Since I was a kid, I’ve loved cycling; what kid doesn’t like to ride a bike? Children should be able to be kids and play and ride their bikes. Cancer takes that away from them and makes them become old souls. With all the poking, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, blood transfusions, painkillers, and hundreds of hours they spend in hospital, they have to endure a lot.
My friends Chris and Lisette’s son Sean endured 1000 pain killer cocktails, 1000 needles, 200 blood transfusions, 120 weeks of Chemo therapy (40 rounds), 30 weeks of radiation and 15 surgeries. All by the age of 13.
I imagine it’s similar for most children and this should not be happening to them. Children should be out playing and not having to worry about their next treatment.
The last words a parent wants to hear is “your child has cancer “. We want to eliminate those words from our vocabulary and hopefully one day no parent will have to hear these words and kids can be kids.
I do this for my friends and to honour their children.
We wear our orange t-shirts for Nick Van Dyke,
We wear blue nail polish for Taissa Kopystansky-Mojsiak,
We wear a blue wrist band for James McKeddie,
It is rainbows for Jordana Fiorini
It is remembering Simon Steele, Michael Leiter, Dominic Rooney and Briony Fast.
It is for their parents Margie and Ken, Ulana, Gordon and Christina, Fiona, Michael Sr., Trish and Sean, Lynn, Alison and Luciano and Chris and Lisette, and all the siblings.
And the list goes on…my personal experience with Coast to Coast began as a physical challenge but it became much more with the awareness of the pain and suffering that cancer brings, especially to young families.
I ride to be an advocate for the children and their families and to assist them as best I can on their journey, to help the children to have a sense of normalcy, and to help them feel that they are not alone in their struggles.
I am happy and proud to have the support of my family, friends, peers and colleagues through this challenge.