Riding for more than a Cure

My Dad sent a text to my family this week, toting the purchase of drugs worth a couple thousand dollars (free of course because of Ontario’s health care coverage) in preparation for his latest cancer checkup. A radioactive beverage, and a series of shots were on the docket, certainly an unpleasant experience just around the corner.

My Dad has been ‘cancer free’ for nearly 4 years now, but this text exchange was a subtle reminder that you’re never fully clear of Cancer’s evil grasp. Even 4 years out, check-ups still happen to make sure Cancer doesn’t rear it’s nasty head again. This being said, my Dad isn’t in the worst of cases.

According to cancer.ca an estimated 206,200 new cases of cancer and 80,800 deaths from cancer were expected to occur in Canada in 2017. About 1 in 2 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime, with a quarter of those patients dying from the disease. Those are significant numbers. I’d challenge you to find someone who hasn’t been effected, or known of someone effected by cancer — My Dad is hardly alone.

I’ve personally lost Grandparents, parents of some of my best friends, and classmates to the disease, with many others living and fighting the disease every day of their lives. I’ve met some amazing people through conferences like Epicurrence that have fought, and shared their stories — they’ve been true inspirations. Thankfully I’ve been grateful to know many who have survived their fights, but that number is still frighteningly low.

When I first heard of my Dad’s cancer, it was on the heel’s of my best friend losing his Dad to a nearly identical form of cancer, and it had me absolutely scared. I couldn’t fathom the pain my friend had just gone through, and couldn’t fathom going through it myself if something were to happen to my Dad. Thankfully his doctor spotted it early, and was able to treat him. It was a difficult time for our family, and I wouldn’t wish it on my greatest enemy, the ups and downs of cancer treatment are hell.

I couldn’t believe how emotions just came in. I know how I felt when my doctor said “it looks really good”. I went back to my car, and I just sat there and bawled. That was the first time I had felt like a survivor.
— Steve Rae

Thankfully my Dad came out of treatment, feeling better than he has in years. He has taken up cycling, and is incredibly active in the local hockey scenes again, doing the things he loves. It brings tremendous joy to me to see him healthy again.

Last year, thankful for the treatment he received, and armed with a heart to make the road easier for others dealing with cancer, he took to the Ride to Conquer cancer to raise money for the cure. Having not done much riding in his life, he trained to complete this 200km ride from Toronto to Niagara.

My Dad — post ride in Niagara

As I watched him cross the finish line on leg one, I promised myself I’d never let him ride it alone. This year, we’re riding together to conquer cancer. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to ride with him to help raise funds to fight the disease that has taken loved ones from so many.

Before we ride 200km in June, we need your help to reach our goals of $2,500 each for cancer research. Every little bit counts, even if 100 people donate $25, that’s enough to reach the goal. If you’re interested and willing to help us financially, please donate on the Ride to Conquer website.

Along with financial support, we’d appreciate your emotional support as well. If you’re interested in cheering on the riders, please visit the Toronto ride homepage for details on the ride. It kicks off June 9th from Exhibition place in Toronto, we hope to see you there :).

I’m riding this year to support not only my family and friends who have fought, or are fighting cancer, but I also want to ride to support your family and friends. If you’ve got someone who’s fought or fighting, or someone you’ve lost to cancer, I want to ride for them too. Send me an email and share your story. Of course, you’re welcome to join our team as well and ride along with us!

In advance, we appreciate the support. I’ll be sharing updates on Twitter and Instagram as we get closer to ride day. You can follow along @mrae19.