Occupation: Former Hockey Player turned Family-man / Businessman
Destination – Beyond Cancer!
I am doing this ride in memory of my brother, Nicholas Theodore Van Dyk, to raise awareness about a horrific disease, to raise money to find a cure and to support children living with childhood cancer.
In 2008, my younger brother, Nick, passed away from cancer and it turned my family’s life upside down. We got through this time by the amazing support we received from our family, friends, acquaintances and people we did not even know.
Nick was a genuine person with an amazing heart. He always had a smile on his face and had a knack for bringing out the best in people. He was definitely one of a kind. People were drawn to him because of his fun, goofy, competitive, yet care free and open hearted personality. He loved to play every sport, play video games, watch TV and enjoy the outdoors, but most of all he loved hanging out with his family and friends. With Nick’s interests in mind my cousin thought up a great idea to hold a ring toss (texas horseshoes) tournament for Nick and donate all of the proceeds to a family friend who was one of the Sears National Riders that year.
Since 2009 my family has been supporting the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride. We have been holding family/community ring toss tournaments to pay tribute to my brother and others in our community who have lost their battles against childhood cancer. We use these events to raise awareness about this horrible disease and to sponsor a national rider each year.
This past year I had the chance to join up and ride with the national riders for one day. At the end of the day we listened to some first hand stories about childhood cancer. When you listen to these young kids with cancer who are weak because of the treatments and they are talking about fighting back with so much determination and keeping hope alive, it is devastating, but it was also inspiring. Some were still battling cancer but seemed to have a broader perspective on life than a lot of the adults there. Some were telling stories of how they beat it and although Nick didn’t make it, it gave me pride that we are trying make a difference for the ones still fighting and hope that someday we won’t have to worry about this disease anymore. That is when I knew that I wanted to do this ride. I feel honored to be able to take on this challenge to be a national rider this year.
Thanks to everyone who has been there for our family over these last few years and to those who are supporting me taking on this challenge. I’m honoured and humbled to be able to be part of this effort to make a meaningful difference in the lives of children living with and beyond cancer. You have my commitment to continue this journey and ride so that no parent has to hear the words, “Your child has cancer”.