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

Just Posted

Surrey moves to ban sleeping overnight in RVs, motorhomes on city streets

Proposal comes amid complaints about homeless people living in recreational vehicles

$50,000 reward for ‘extremely violent’ South Surrey murder suspect renewed

Offer for information on Brandon Teixeira to remain in effect through April, 2020

Surrey restaurant owner who pointed handgun at staff loses court appeal

Jawahar Singh Padda tried to get his 30-month sentenced reduced

South Surrey man allows smart meter installation ‘under duress’

BC Hydro says devices emit fraction of radio frequency from a cellphone

White Rock senior ‘just sick’ about lost rings

Wedding, engagement bands discovered missing on Oct. 7

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Kamloops Blazers blank Vancouver Giants

A loss on the road for G-men

Man found dead inside Richmond business, IHIT investigating

Police believe the incident was not random

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Most Read