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Team Terry Hoddinott & Carl Vancer

Terry Hoddinott and Carl Vancer will be riding together as a team on a tandem bike for the Ride. Terry has been totally blind since the age of 3, when he was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a serious form of eye cancer.Losing his vision at an early age has been an “inconvenience”, but has not stopped Terry from cycling. His “eyes” for the Ride will be his close friend and fellow triathlete Carl Vancer. Together, they make up “Team Terry Hoddinott & Carl Vancer”.

Terry Hoddinot | Carl Vancer

Terry Hoddinot

Terry HoddinotPlease Sponsor MeRead My Blog

Age: 45 Years Young

Occupation: Bell Canada Quality Assurance and Owner of Braille Masters (Braille translation company)

Hometown: London, Ontario

Family: Happily married for 17 years with 2 awesome kids – Riley (12) and Katie (9)

My biggest physical accomplishment(s) to date: Brown belt in Judo, Downhill skiing, Riding Zip Lines in Costa Rica, Dolphin Riding in Cuba, Parasailing in St Maarten. Completed my first triathlon in Sept 2008

In the News: A blind manís quest to "see" Canada

I'm blind but I have a vision

Being totally blind since the age of 3, I first learned to ride a bike by following my 7 siblings down gravel roads in Newfoundland. Over the years I’ve had limited opportunity to ride but have kept fit through running and weight training and many other physical activities. In the Spring 2008 I purchased a tandem and I began riding with my wife Patti and anyone else crazy enough to get on the front. That’s when I began to appreciate the joy and freedom of riding. One of my cycling partners was good friend and triathlete, Carl Vancer. Carl has agreed to be my cross-country cycling partner for the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride. After completing a triathlon in September 2008, I started serious cycling training with a dream of riding across the country. I wanted my dream to correspond with something I believed in, and when I heard about this ride, it was an absolute perfect fit.

So why the cause of childhood cancer?  My family’s experience with childhood cancer spans two generations, and demonstrates the incredible progress made through research over the years. In 1966, at age 3, I was diagnosed with a serious cancer of the eye, Retinoblastoma (RB). Doctors were unable to save my vision, but fortunately spared my life.

Sponsor RollIn 1996 our son, Riley, was born with RB. Although we knew there was a risk of this, nothing prepares you to hear the words “Your child has cancer.”  Riley started chemotherapy when he was just 4 days old. After 3 difficult years of battling the cancer, Riley eventually lost one eye to RB and has never looked back.

Fortunately, due to new genetic testing developed by Canadian researchers, our daughter Katie was the first baby in the world to be diagnosed in utero and delivered 1 month prematurely to start laser surgery. She never had to endure chemo, and enjoys normal vision with both eyes!  We are eternally grateful for the research that made this miracle possible!

Patti and I have always tried to give back.  In 2004, 2005 and 2006 we created and ran a fundraising event called the Blind Ball for Retinoblastoma, with the message “Close your eyes and open your mind”. This was a unique event which involved a blindfolded dinner, followed by live and silent auctions and dancing. This was such a successful event that Sick Kids’ has adopted it one of their fundraisers. We have also been involved in the Relay for Life, last year as the host family in London. I enjoy public speaking and have spoken at numerous events to share our incredible success story.

My vision of a cancer-free world where no parent has to hear those dreaded words is what compels me to take on this challenge. The memory of watching my children fight valiantly against this terrible disease is what will drive me to complete it. My story is one of a family who fought childhood cancer and won.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller

Carl Vancer

Carl VancerPlease Sponsor MeRead My Blog

Age: 38 years young

Occupation: Systems Analyst at AXA Insurance

Hometown: London, Ontario

Family: Married to my lovely wife Louise with 3 awesome children, Cole, Laura and Luke

My biggest physical accomplishment(s) to date: My biggest physical accomplishments to date:  a Marathon in 2008 and several triathlons.

Watch out world, we can make a difference.

About 4 years ago, I met up with some old friends that were talking about doing some “off the couch triathlon training”.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect since as a system analyst, my job requires a fair bit of desk work.  Previous to this, I had noticed that I was left breathless after only doing a couple of “helicopter” rides in a row with my kids. So, immediately after talking with my friends, I went to sign up at the local gym before I could change my mind.  I’ve always been somewhat athletic, but trying to re-learn the proper way of swimming, biking and running has been quite the challenge!!  Especially when you have to do all three events one after another without having a triple latte!  Trying to find the time to train with 3 young kids has been extremely challenging, but my family has been very accommodating.  Since trying my first Sprint Triathlon in 2006, I’ve gone on to complete my first Olympic distance Triathlon in 2007 and my first Marathon in 2008. However, as it is turning out, this is only to be the beginning…

Sometimes in life, adventure finds you… Never did I imagine that I would be participating in the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride in 2009!!!  As with most people, friends are a huge part of my life and often they have a large impact on where you are headed.  This is where my very close friend Terry Hoddinott comes into the picture.  The Hoddinotts have been quite the inspiration over the 15 years that I have had the pleasure of knowing Terry and Patti.  Terry has given me the realization that anything is possible.  He calls his blindness “just an inconvenience” and looks for ways of changing the lives of others so that they do not have to experience some of the struggles that he and his family have had to endure.  It was amazing to watch the strength of the Hoddinotts as they too were affected by childhood cancer (Retinoblastoma).  This certainly has given me appreciation for how lucky I am to have 3 healthy children.  Recently, when Terry asked me to ride with him on a tandem and to be his “eyes” for the “ride of our lives” I was intrigued.  Then when he told me that the ride was for Sears National Kids Cancer Ride across ALL of CANADA, I thought he was joking!!!  Let me tell you, this was something that I had to sleep on and think about (not as simple as signing up for the gym!).  Doing a 40km ride in an Olympic distance triathlon is not quite the same as a ride across Canada.  However, at the end of the day, I thought to myself that this is absolutely a once in a lifetime adventure with a charity that I feel is very important in my heart.  I called Terry back and agreed to ride with him as long as I was the one in the front to steer the bike!!!  I feel privileged to be able to do my part in raising funds for such a great cause.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”   Mark Twain