Age: Turning 40 as I write this
Occupation: Litigation Partner - May, Jensen, Shawa Solomon LLP
Hometown: Calgary, AB
Family: Married to my best friend (Sheila) and proud father of two awesome daughters (Aislinn and Kaeleigh)
My biggest physical accomplishment(s) to date: successful completion of 1st and 2nd degree black belt testing, Alberta Tour for Kids, and many other rides for charity for charity
Doing the Ride for so many reasons
I have always loved cycling. I remember how patient my dad was in his efforts to get me up on just two wheels. But I also remember when it happened, and that sense of freedom. Cycling has been part of my life since then. I thank my dad for that (and for many other things).
As a teenager in Regina, I cycled with good friends out to the beach to go sailing after work. I began doing charity cycling events early in life. I cycle commuted to the subway in Toronto during law school. My (now) wife, Sheila and I cycled through the Rockies for a week, and I proposed to her at the top of the Highwood Pass on the first day of that trip, on the theory that her brain would be oxygen-starved (she did say "yes"). For over ten years, I have cycle-commuted year-round into downtown. This summer, my wife, daughters and I had an incredible family-adventure trip, cycling and otherwise exploring the San Juan Islands. We often do family bike rides around Calgary.
It seems that cycling is in my blood. It hit me even stronger this past year. Becoming a bit of a "cycle-path" is maybe due in small part to the fact that a career in corporate/commercial dispute resolution does not lend itself well to a guy dyeing his hair blond, getting an earring or a tattoo, buying a two-seater convertible, or other ways in which some people handle hitting a milestone birthday. I hope that I have now overcome the catcalls that used to flow from my riding compatriots, remarking on my "Saskatchewan hill-climbing technique"
During a team training ride for a charitable event this past summer, I first heard about Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation and the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride. I was immediately hooked (Sheila might say "obsessed")
Helping children. Fighting cancer. Raising money. 100 cents on the dollar to the cause. Further instilling in my daughters the sense of giving back, as my parents did in me. Seeing (from a cycle) this huge country of ours and the generosity and hospitality of folks from coast to coast. The chance to be part of a truly national team, pulling each other through a challenge. Experiencing again (but on a scale well beyond anything before) the synergistic energy of a charity event. Getting the chance to see family members living across Canada.
I am fortunate not to have a direct personal connection to kids’ cancer. Although as a member of the Advisory Board of The Children’s Wish Foundation, I have some familiarity with the impacts, I know that I really cannot fathom what it would be like to learn that one’s child has cancer. SNKCR and CWF are complementary causes in a sense, and I ride to assist the research so that children don’t need to have a wish granted under those circumstances.
If the training or the ride gets difficult at times, I know that the extra boost will come from reminding myself that this is easy compared to what the experience must be for children and families facing kids’ cancer. To this, I will add the thought that Sheila, Aislinn and Kaeleigh will be flying out to the finish line in Halifax, so that as a family we can take the opportunity to celebrate Canada Day, Sheila’s birthday, and our anniversary in the Maritimes.
And, for those of you who know me, you will understand that doing this ride as part of a team will have the added benefit of at least decreasing the chances that I will make one or more wrong turns along the way.
I am honoured to have been given the responsibility of being a National Rider in 2009, for the world’s longest childhood cancer cycling event.
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." (Albert Einstein)
"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)