Hope rider, Steve Wilson (fifth from left) and seven of his Brainiacs team completed a training ride from Rosedale to Hope, via Agassiz and back, in preparation for the Ride to Conquer Cancer last year. Submitted photo

Hope rider, Steve Wilson (fifth from left) and seven of his Brainiacs team completed a training ride from Rosedale to Hope, via Agassiz and back, in preparation for the Ride to Conquer Cancer last year. Submitted photo

B.C.’s Ride to Conquer Cancer postponed until 2021

2,100 riders had signed up for the massive annual fundraiser for the BC Cancer Foundation

Over 2,000 people won’t be cycling into Hope this year, as organizers have postponed the Ride to Conquer Cancer to August 2021.

As with many major events in the Fraser Valley and beyond, organizers made the decision to cancel the event to protect the health of at-risk individuals, including people with cancer, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The ride is a major fundraiser for the BC Cancer Foundation, anticipated to gather between $8 to $10 million annually for research and care innovations for people with cancer in the province.

The two-day, 200 kilometre cycling fundraiser, in its 12th year, used to run from Cloverdale to Washington state and back. In 2018, organizers made the decision to change the finish line to Hope, B.C. yet were forced to end the ride in Chilliwack due a wildfire burning along one of the two highways heading into the community from the Fraser Valley. In 2019 the ride finally made it to Hope.

Read more: VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Riders often start training well ahead of the summer ride, with training rides alone and together with their teams. Cathy Harry, manager at Hope’s Kal Tire, saw the ride on TV a few years ago and the next morning had decided she’d do it.

She started riding in December in preparation her fifth ride together with her son-in-law Yan. “But now I’m going to do the fifth on my sixtieth birthday,” she said resolutely.

Yan has a different approach to training, Harry said, he jumps on the bike the day of the ride. “He does a little bit of whining along the way because he’s sore a bit, but then…I’ll say ‘you don’t want your mother in law to go over the finish line without you,’” she laughed. “It’s a good bonding time.”

The circa 2,000 riders don’t only train to take on the 200 kilometre ride, they also fundraise. Each rider needs to raise a minimum of $2,500 to take part in the ride and many go well over. The ride raised $10.6 million in 2018 and $9.1 million last year.

Organizers say the significant economic hardships for many brought on by COVID-19 was a factor in postponing the ride.

“So many people don’t have the money to donate this year,” Harry said. “If you get 2,500 riders and half of them are not employed, it’s pretty hard to get people to pay into it, or to support you on the ride.” And riders, she adds, are also not able to rely on corporate donations as they have in the past.

For a disease which afflicts an estimated one half of all Canadians at some point in their lives, there are few among the rides not touched by cancer. Steve Wilson, a Hope resident, rode for the first time in 2018 with the Braniacs team. He told Hope Standard reporter Barry Stewart he’d seen “too much cancer first hand” in recent years including his wife Inge going through breast cancer, as well as close friends, aunts uncles and colleagues.

Harry is thinking of the double whammy people who have cancer are facing with COVID-19, some who have little time left with loved ones. “I’ve got some close friends who’ve been battling it for years,” she said. “I’ve got a couple of customers and two friends that have just gone through breast cancer and now they’re stuck at home, they can’t see their grandkids, they can’t do anything. If you have a low immune system, this virus is just crushing people.”

The ride weekend, August 29 to 30, won’t go by unnoticed as the cancer foundation is planning a celebration of some form in line with health directives from the province.

“Postponing the (ride) is a heartbreaking decision. Riders pour their hearts into training and fundraising in honour of loved ones and this community is a driving force behind many of the biggest breakthroughs in cancer made here in B.C.,” stated Sarah Roth, president and CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation. Some of those breakthroughs include research into 50 types of cancer by 250 researchers, research “on track to prevent up to 50 per cent of gynecological cancer,” genomic testing and enhanced care for 275,000 patients.

Without the money from the ride, the BC Cancer Foundation say they will face a “significant gap” in fundraising. The money that has already been raised by the 2,100 riders signed up this year will go to research at the BC Cancer Agency.

The presenting sponsor, Wheaton Precious Metals, will remain on board as well. The 2021 ride is set for August 28 and 29.



emelie.peacock@hopestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CancerCycling

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

 

This carving was created to celebrate the Ride to Conquer Cancer’s shift to Hope, and was on display during a chainsaw carving competition in 2019. Chris Duchaine/ Black Press

This carving was created to celebrate the Ride to Conquer Cancer’s shift to Hope, and was on display during a chainsaw carving competition in 2019. Chris Duchaine/ Black Press

Just Posted

Construction takes place on Bamfield Main in early February 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY CTV NEWS)
Closures planned for Bamfield Road

Construction by Mosaic unrelated to $30M upgrade

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Alberni Valley’s Emergency Operations Centre is located around the corner and below the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District office. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District tests new mobile alert system

Residents can still sign up for free Voyent Alert! emergency messaging

Crews respond to a structure fire in the 6000 block of Renton Road in Cherry Creek on Saturday, Feb. 27. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Workshop destroyed in Cherry Creek fire

Crews stayed on scene overnight fighting ‘stubborn’ blaze

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Tax error in 2020 means lower rate for residents in 2021

Alberni’s taxation for regional library accidently written down twice

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

Vancouver and Victoria both have a MySafe machine to help reduce overdoses

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

Most Read