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

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Revelstoke City Hall. (File)
Revelstoke COVID-19 cases spike to 46

Mayor Gary Sulz expects positive cases to increase

Downtown Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Online community launched to support local businesses

Community Futures is hosting Revy Open for Business as a one stop shop for information

Nicole Cherlet was elected to Revelstoke city council two years ago. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
2 year anniversary: Nicole Cherlet is striving for tangible change

As council looks back on their first two years in office, a byelection looms

Mike Brooks-Hill was elected to city council two years ago. (Contributed)
2 year anniversary: Mike Brooks-Hill says change is inevitable

As council looks back on their first two years in office, a byelection looms

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is also the minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Shane Mark Mulholland. Kamloops This Week
Weekend in jail for man who refused to wear a mask in Kamloops Law Courts

Shane Mark Mulholland was slated to stand trial Nov. 27 on one count of breach of probation

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

The stage will be full as the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra takes the stage with Verdi’s Requiem - 2019, file photo (OSO photo)
Okanagan Symphony launches new season amid COVID-19

The new season will be live-streamed starting in 2021

The scene of a serious crash on Highway 33 in Kelowna that killed one and severely injured two others on June 20, 2018. (File)
Trial begins for driver accused of fatal 2018 Highway 33 crash in Kelowna

An officer who pursued the vehicle said he saw the occupants of the car ejected upon impact

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Jessie Simpson’s mother is asking for Christmas cards to cheer her son up this holiday season. (Sue Simpson - Facebook)
Kamloops mom asking for Christmas cards for son

Jessie Simpson was beaten with a baseball bat in 2016 and now lives in a long-term care facility

Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents worried about COVID-19 deficit, business survey finds

Respondents support faster local approvals, value added tax

Most Read