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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Not business as usual as Nelson slowly reopens

Local owners talk about the pandemic has changed how they operate

City of Nelson takes over farmers’ markets from EcoSociety

Markets start June 13 and will be run by the Nelson and District Youth Centre

School District announces Rick Hansen Foundation difference-maker award winners

Creston student Alexis Folk and Nelson teacher Chris Mieske recognized by the Rick Hansen Foundation

Nelson offers financing for homeowners to purchase electric bikes

Loan payments will be applied to hydro bills as part of the EcoSave home retrofit program

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Most Read