What does a band of salty Ol’ Sailors, Team Lederhosen, and a hug-happy superhero share in common?
They were all part of the Panthers Fight Cancer Spin-a-thon at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary School, an event combining physical endurance with a healthy dose of teamwork and good spirits, despite the seriousness of the cause.
In the past three years, students at LTS have lost three of their teachers to cancer, including Lynn Ryan, who taught at the school for 18 years.
Mr. Ryan beat skin cancer three years ago, and was expected to beat pancreatic cancer, too.
It was a terrible shock when he passed away suddenly in December at the age of 62, leaving behind a wife and three adult children.
Instead of feeling helpless, the school community is fighting back in hopes of finding a cure.
On March 17, more than 200 students from Grades 8 to 12 joined the spin-a-thon to honour teachers Lynn Ryan, Dave Smith and Mariana Mezo.
Participants collected sponsorships, pledging to pedal for at least 30 minutes in a 14-team relay – themes and costumes encouraged – tasked with keeping the bank of stationary bikes set up in the cafeteria spinning for five hours straight.
One of the organizers, teacher Sarah Nicholls, managed to ride her bike for the whole five hours – good practice for June, when she and another teacher, Amanda Okrainetz, are taking part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. The two-day, 200-km ride from the Lower Mainland to Seattle is also a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Donations were still coming in, but it’s expected the big cats will reach the school’s goal of $5,000.