Dr. Bruce Crooks

Dr. Bruce Crooks

Chilliwack stop on the road to end childhood cancer

The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride pulled into to the Chilliwack Thursday, bringing the hope and determination to end childhood cancer.

The cyclists were a little wet and weary, but their enthusiasm was resolute as they neared the finish of the first leg in a journey that will take them across Canada.

Their trip will be arduous, agreed Chris Collins, an MLA from Moncton New Brunswick. But the importance of their trek will soothe any sore muscle and raise any flagged spirit.

The riders were part of the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride, which pulled into to the Chilliwack Sears parking lot at around 1:30 Thursday afternoon.

They had left the shores of White Rock earlier that day, bringing with them stones they had gathered from the beach. The 24 cyclists will carry the rocks with them during their 17-day ordeal, tossing them back into the ocean when they reach the Atlantic 7,000 kilometres away (ironically at a place called Black Rock, Nova Scotia).

But they’re carrying more than rocks. They’re bringing a message and the conviction that the time has come to end childhood cancer.

Each rider must raise a minimum of $25,000 to participate in the ride – money that goes entirely to the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation and its effort to improve the survival rate and quality of life for children and their families affected by cancer.

During the past two years the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride has raised $2.5 million, making it, “the biggest charity cycling event in the world on behalf of children with cancer.”

For Bruce Crooks, the reason for the ride is something he sees every day. As a pediatric oncologist at a Halifax hospital, childhood cancer is part of his everyday working life.

“These are who we are riding for,” he says, waving his arm toward the sandwich-board signs that line the cyclists’ arrival route. Each sign carries a photo and a story of some young person who’s life has been interrupted by cancer.

But while Dr. Crooks has seen the heartbreak of the disease, he’s also seen the hope, and the possibility that one day no parent will have to hear the news that pains him so much to deliver.

Writes Crooks in his blog: “As I said to a mother, not too long ago, as she had just been told her child had leukemia, ‘This must seem to be the worst day of your life. But I’m here to try and make it better for you.’”

I wish I never have to say those words again. That’s why I’m riding.”

Chris Collins heard those words.

“I lost a child to cancer six years ago,” he says as the exhilaration from the first leg of the journey starts to ease. His son, Sean, would be 18 today had cancer not claimed him shortly after his 13th birthday in 2007.

Collins has trained hard for the ride, logging thousands of kilometres both on the road and in the gym. A supporter of the foundation for many years, he finally decided (with encouragement from his wife, Lisette) to take on the challenge himself.

His goal is to raise $40,000 for the cause.

Says Collins in his blog: “It’s important to me to make sure that kids get to grow up. This ride gives me the opportunity to help make that happen.”

Both Crooks and Collins say they are looking forward to the familiar roads of their own home provinces. But they also know that once their ride has ended – and their stones are thrown in the Atlantic – the journey to end childhood cancer will continue.

For more information about the ride, to meet the riders and support their efforts, go to www.searsnationalkidscancerride.com/

Just Posted

Items seized by RCMP during a May 13 raid on Butchart Street. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP seize guns and drugs during raid on Butchart Street property

Police executed a search warrant on a home May 13, arresting one man at the scene

Transit Future Action Plan for Chilliwack and FVRD aimed at increasing services over five years and restoring ridership to pre-COVID levels. (BC Transit)
Future planning for Chilliwack transit aims to restore ridership lost to pandemic

Transit future plan envisions adding peak buses and service hours over next five years

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

Looking out over the Fraser Valley from Chipmunk Ridge from the proposed Bridal Veil Mountain Resort. (BVMR)
Chance to ask questions about gondola resort proposal near Chilliwack

Project team for Bridal Veil Mountain Resort is holding another virtual info session

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, at press conference Monday. (Submitted photo)
Crime Stoppers receiving $200K from province for ‘Guns and Gangs’ tip line campaign

Executive director Linda Annis broke the news Monday morning in Surrey

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Most Read