Age: 45 years old
Occupation: Fundraiser for Toronto General and Western Hospitals Foundation
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
My biggest physical accomplishment(s) to date: just completed my first Ironman after 4 years of doing triathlons, 4 years of Friends for Life Bike Rally (Toronto to Montreal for Toronto PWA Foundation)
In the News: Riding for Childhood Cancer
Helping Community Causes Changes Lives - Changed Mine!
If someone told me 9 or 10 years ago that I would be riding my bike across Canada to raise funds for children and their families who are dealing with cancer I would not have believed them. For so many years my focus was on the arts and arts administration. While I had been active when I was younger I left it behind for the romantic pursuit of a bohemian urban artistic existence. I was raised in rural Southern Alberta and could not wait to live in The Big City. Now I am an Ironman (just did my first IM in Arizona) after four years of sprint, Olympic and Half Ironman distance triathlons. My daily routine involves focused training when I am not involved in work or volunteering.
But it was raising funds for causes that touched my life that brought me back to the physical activities I enjoyed in my youth. First, a two-week paddle of a Dragon Boat up the Rideau River with Ready! Ready! For a Cure (a group of friends based in Stratford where I was living at the time) to raise funds for breast cancer research. My mother and my aunt as well as my former mother-in-law and several friends are breast cancer survivors. Then I learned of the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation’s Friends for Life Bike Rally (Toronto to Montreal) and have participated for the past four years. Through the Bike Rally I developed my love for cycling which turned into a passion for triathlons. I have learned to challenge myself physically, mentally and emotionally through these endeavors. I have come to appreciate the good health that has allowed me to participate while making some incredible friends along the way.
At the time I learned of the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride I also learned that I was going to be a dad. Sydney Isabelle Keystone-Chambers is now almost 9 months old. The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride seemed to be something that represented an intersection of so many things: a physical challenge, giving back to those facing childhood cancer, an appreciation of what it means to have a child as a gift to celebrate and care for, an opportunity to see this beautiful country from a different perspective, a chance to use my professional fundraising skills beyond my day job and - in some small way - to change the world.
Cancer and its treatment have not touched me directly, although it has impacted my circle of friends and family. To lose a childhood - and all that is most precious about being a child - to illness, side effects of medications and therapies, emotional and financial stress should never be the life map of any child or parent. The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride is one very significant way for us to collectively as cyclists, volunteers, donors, sponsors and families to kick back at cancer - to truly be coast to coast against cancer.
“A jug fills drop by drop.” (Buddha)