The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer kicked off Saturday (Aug. 24) at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, where more than 2,100 riders participated in the largest fundraiser in the country, according to Sarah Roth, president and CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation.
Cycling more than 200 kilometres from Cloverdale to Hope, teams big and small came from across Canada and the U.S. to help fight cancer during the two-day trip.
Thousands gathered during Saturday’s opening ceremony to hear Roth announce this year’s total of $9.1 million raised from donations, bringing the total over 11 years to $105.1 million.
“I think it’s just amazing to see a community come together and do something really positive for such a challenging disease,” said Roth. “The stories behind each rider, whether you’re riding for someone you lost or for yourself because you battled cancer, there are just so many stories and I love hearing each one.”
Rick Davis, a cancer survivor, or “thriver” as he likes to call himself, was treated at BC Cancer and has seen first-hand the support these funds give to patients and families. He had a kidney stone to thank for saving his life and bringing to light his diagnosis of a rare form of cancer known as Adrenocortical Carcinoma.
“Every year I feel lucky to be here,” said Davis. “I’m too grateful to be part of this amazing event that is so well organized and so well put together. It’s just the best ride in B.C. right now.”
Davis has ridden for six years now with his team The Summit Seekers, after his 2012 diagnosis when he was told he only had a couple of years to live. His team has raised more than $10,000 with only five members.
This was the first time the ride ended in Hope, and the excitement at the Hope and District Recreation Centre was palpable. Prior to the end of the ride, they also descended on Seabird Island near Agassiz for a lunch.
While there, Dana Zwirewich, team captain for ‘Crush It’ explained the meaning of the ride for and others.
‘We ride for cancer research,” she said. “We ride to make a difference, we ride with heart and soul, passion and courage, because we have loved ones who have either been taken from us or are working through cancer right now. And we want to do our best to support them and everyone else who has been touched by cancer in their lives.
“We are here to crush cancer.”
The Ride to Conquer Cancer has funded more than 47 world-leading research projects at the BC Cancer Foundation and has provided care to nearly 80,000 people facing cancer in the province.
With files from Jessica Peters