Thousands of cyclists gathered at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds on Saturday morning to kick off the 10th-annual Ride to Conquer Cancer.
| More than 2,500 riders participated in the 10th-annual Ride to Conquer Cancer.
Over two days, the 2,500 riders will travel more than 200 kilometres, as part of a fundraising and awareness initiative supporting cancer research within British Columbia.
At the opening ceremonies, BC Cancer Foundation President and CEO Sarah Roth announced that the ride had raised $10.6 million in its 10th year, putting the total raised over the past decade above $96 million.
Riders this year came from across the province, Canada and the United States, with some teams hailing from Nova Scotia, Texas, Yukon, and Ohio.
“Take a look around you, because we are all united by the journey to Hope,” said Roth. “This year we will not be physically be going to Hope — we’ll be there next year, and I want to thank the district of Hope for all of your hard work and efforts — but we are all here for hope. For the 80,000 British Columbians facing cancer today.”
Although this was to be the first year that the riders went to Hope, the Mt. Hicks wildfire along Highway 7 has changed those plans. The finish line will now be at Heritage Park in Chilliwack.
“Over 10 epic years the Ride to Conquer Cancer has been changing outcomes for British Columbians facing cancer. The ride and its thousands of participants, tens of thousands of donors, gives families hope that together we can conquer this disease. We ride and raise funds honouring the loved ones we’ve lost and with confidence that we’re giving the incredible scientists and clinicians at BC Cancer the power to save lives,” said Roth.
“Every dollar stays in this province, to support care and research for the people of British Columbia facing cancer,” she said.
Connor Knickerbocker, founder of team To The Max, was the 2018 featured speaker. He spoke in rhyme, to silence, laughter and cheers from the audience as he recounted the story of his brother Max’s fatal cancer, starting To The Max in his honour, and the memories and experiences he has had over the years during the ride.
For Knickerbocker, his journey began 10 years ago, when he got a call that his brother had been diagnosed with a fatal cancer. Living in southern France at the time, Knickerbocker moved back to B.C. and started to work in a kitchen where he learned about the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
He initially joined Team Finn, and was a member for two weeks. Then his brother Max died.
“I called up Pat [the lead for Team Finn] and said, ‘please give me some slack, I need to start my own team, and we’re calling it To The Max.’”
To The Max has 83 registered members this year, and raised more than $89,000.
“Ten years ago, I was told everything would be fine. And now when I think back on it, you know they really weren’t lying. Because when I lost my brother I thought, this just can’t be. But when I lost my brother I gained a 3,000 person family,” he told the thousands of riders in the audience.