Cyclists ride coast-to-coast to fight childhood cancer

The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride cyclists stopped in Chilliwack on Day 1 of their 17-day journey from White Rock to Halifax.

The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride cyclists stopped in Chilliwack on September 10. The ride has raised more that $9 million since 2008.

The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride cyclists stopped in Chilliwack on September 10. The ride has raised more that $9 million since 2008.

The crowd in the Sears parking lot erupted in applause last week as 23 tenacious cyclists rolled in.

It was only Day 1 of the eighth annual Sears National Kids Cancer Ride (SNKCR), a 17-day biking journey from coast to coast. When the riders arrive in Halifax on September 26, they will have travelled 7,000 km.

Each day, the exuberant cyclists stop at local Sears stores and paediatric oncology centres to meet children and families from the childhood cancer community. These are the people they are fighting for.

As the riders arrived in Chilliwack, their path was lined with posters depicting the faces and stories of children who have been affected by cancer.

Ulana Kopystansky dismounted from her bike and knelt down by one sandwich board that read, “Taissa, 1987-2001.”

“That’s my baby,” she said.

Ola McIntosh, general manager of Sears Chilliwack, thanked the riders and volunteers for their outstanding dedication and generosity.

After riding anywhere from 140 to 300 km per day, the cyclists sleep in one of two semi trucks. Carl Foster, a SNKCR truck driver for five years, guided guests through the interior of the truck, lined with bunk beds and pictures of the kids that inspire them.

Kristen Kuzemko from Toronto rides for the children on the cancer floor of the hospital where she volunteers, and for her family members who have been diagnosed.

After her national ride in 2012, Kuzemko was a different person.“It’s a journey that – if you allow it to – will change you.”

Ahuja and McIntoshAlso part of the ‘wheel family,’ and the only 2015 rider from B.C., was Bob Ahuja. “He is our local hero,” said McIntosh.

“A lot of kids lose the opportunity to ride their bike,” Ahuja struggled to say. “They’re stuck in a hospital, or even worse, they’ve passed away.”

For Ahuja, the ride provides hope for kids like Rohit, his young cousin who battled the devastating disease. “He was 10 when he was diagnosed, and fought for four years before he passed away at age 14.”

He and Rohit shared a special bond, and Thursday was a particularly difficult yet heart-warming day for Ahuja as family supported him at the B.C. stops.

Sears Chilliwack hopes to raise $8,000 in store, $5,000 of which will go towards Ahuja’s fundraising goal of $25,000.

The Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation has a 100 per cent donation model. Since the SNKCR began in 2008, $9 million has been raised to improve the quality of life for children impacted by cancer and to fund cancer research programs at Canadian hospitals.

Amongst the Chilliwack crowd were Mark Strahl (MP Chilliwack – Fraser Canyon), Jason Lum (councillor, City of Chilliwack), Dr. Gwen Point (Chancellor of University of the Fraser Valley), and Laurie Throness (MLA Chilliwack – Hope).

Each speaker shared stories of their family and friends who’ve had cancer, and thanked the riders for the sacrifices they’ve made to take part in the event.

The riders were thrilled to meet Rolly Fox, father of Terry Fox, who’s presence and words inspired the entire crowd. “It was the children that Terry saw in the cancer wards that inspired him to do his run across Canada,” he explained, a motivation that resonates strongly with SNKCR participants.

“One of the greatest gifts that you can get is time, and time is precious,” said Dr. Point. “The time that you’re giving so that other children and families can walk through a journey struck with cancer, is immeasurable.”

To view the national schedule, the full list of 2015 riders, or to donate, visit searsnationalkidscancerride.com.

 

Just Posted

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack woman’s 100-km birthday marathon to benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Volunteers will gather at South Gate Shopping Centre on Fathers Day before fanning out to help clean up downtown Chilliwack. (Facebook photo)
Kindness Chain Chilliwack Association organizes Fathers Day cleanup

Volunteers will spend 90 minutes fanning out to gather trash in downtown Chilliwack

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

RCMP investigating June 15, 2021 crash. (Black Press file)
Chilliwack RCMP say crash into median led to impaired driver investigation

Chrysler 300 driver allegedly collided with tree on Spadina median in June 15 incident

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

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

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read