Robyn Wells (centre) with her daughters Brianna Noon (left) and Mackenzie Wells will be taking part in the Cypress Challenge on Aug. 11 to help raise money for research for pancreatic cancer. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

CHARITY

Uphill battle for Cloverdale cyclist, 64, and her daughters in Cypress Challenge charity ride

Robyn Wells has lost both of her parents and two uncles to pancreatic cancer

It’ll be an uphill battle for fourth-generation Cloverdale-area resident Robyn Wells and her two daughters during a tough cycling fundraiser this summer.

The 64-year-old will attempt her second Cypress Challenge on Aug. 11, when hundreds of cyclists will pedal the road up Cypress Mountain “to help change pancreatic cancer outcomes across the province.”

Last year, it took Wells about 65 minutes to complete the Challenge.

“Some of the guys are up in 30 minutes, which is incredible,” Wells said.

“I ride recreationally but I’m not a cyclist, as such,” she added. “Last year I rode my 12-year-old hybrid (bike) but I have a newer one this year. It’s uphill all the way – there’s no forgiveness, that’s for sure. The hills of Cloverdale are good for practicing.”

The Cypress Challenge cause is one Wells is deeply connected to, having lost both of her parents and two uncles to pancreatic cancer.

Her father, John, was diagnosed with the disease in 2010 and passed away just two weeks later. Her mother, Sharon, was then diagnosed in 2015, a year after two of her uncles (Clarence Heppell and Gary Heppell) had also been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Her mother died in 2017.

By fundraising and taking on the Cypress Challenge, Wells said she hopes to change the story for other families who may be facing a similar health situation.

“A pancreatic cancer diagnosis is horrible, and I hate to think of how my family suffered,” Wells said. “It will be wonderful when there are better outcomes. Every dollar of support counts, and I feel confident we will see even more advancements in my children’s lifetime as a result.”

For the Challenge this time around, Wells will be joined by daughters Brianna Noon and Mackenzie Wells, and niece Claire Stewart. They are the “Collins’ Cruisers” team, a reference to Wells’ maiden name.

“My mom always wanted to do whatever she could to help with the future of pancreatic cancer research, and by participating in the Cypress Challenge, I can help carry on that legacy,” Wells said.

“Mom and Dad would be pleased.”

According to BC Cancer Foundation, more than 800 British Columbians will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death after lung, breast in women, colorectal and prostate in men, according to the organization. “It is difficult to detect at an early stage and is often resistant to treatment.”

Close to 800 cyclists took part in the 2018 Cypress Challenge, now in its 12th year. Event details are posted at cypresschallenge.com.

To train for the ride, Wells has been cycling around Cloverdale and also attends spin classes at the local Spinco studio, which she says will donate proceeds from “Spin-It-Forward” classes in August to the Cypress Challenge.

“I like sports, generally, and I play field hockey still, with the Surrey Sharks,” Wells noted.

Her family roots runs deep in Cloverdale and the rest of Surrey.

Her mom Sharon Collins (nee Heppell) was raised on a Cloverdale-area farm that still exists. Her father was raised in Newton, and her parents met at a dance in Cloverdale.

“My great-great-grandfather, Joseph Figg, homesteaded in South Surrey and died in 1885,” Wells explained. “He is the first one buried in the Surrey Centre Cemetery. (He was) my maternal grandmother’s grandfather.

“And then on my maternal grandpa’s side (my mother’s father), they settled in Cloverdale in 1906. He was the first twin in Surrey along with his brother Lester (who also died of pancreatic cancer). They represented Canada and carried one of the flags for the opening of the Peace Arch.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey councillor says McCallum, city sent letter to Uber to cease operations

Ridesharing company told to cease operations by 9 p.m. Friday within Surrey

Man killed in fall from Civic Hotel balcony in Surrey

Heavy emergency services presence in plaza at the skyscraper, at 13475 Central Ave.

Outdoor skating rink at free Winter Festival in Surrey, with food trucks and more

At Guildford Town Centre, hit the ice for free with your own skates or rent some for donation

Ride-hailing arrives in North Delta

Uber’s picking up passengers in North Delta, Ladner, but Tsawwassen is still waiting for the service

Plans for apartments on Strawberry Hill shopping site coming to Surrey council

It would be near the library, and include 123 rental units

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

5 things you need to know to start using ridesharing in Metro Vancouver

From how to get started to where drivers can take you, heres all you need to know

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

Most Read