Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly

Age: 43Belleville, ON

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Occupation: Service Advisor

Family: Married 20 years to the love of my life Stacey. Together we have 2 amazing kids Rachel 17 and Zak 15.

I’ve been pretty athletic for all of my adult life, I’ve completed 19 marathon’s including the Boston Marathon in 2010, I play hockey, I ski, I sometimes biked…until the fall of 2009 when my good friend Damon suggested we go for a short ride and welcome the National Riders to Belleville. They were running very late, so we decided to start heading down the road and ride in with them. 40km later we met up with them (me on my 20 year old mountain bike) and rode back to town. It was at the presentations at the Sears Warehouse in Belleville that it dawned on me what should have always been obvious, kids get cancer to. The young mother speaking that afternoon moved me to tears, and when Damon asked me to help him train for the 2010 ride I was all in. I went and got a road bike, and suffered through the training rides at the mall, the 200 km training days in the rain, and finally 2 days of riding along with the National Team, all while training for my customary 2 marathons a year. It was during those 2 days that I met one of the most amazing people I’ve ever encountered, and learned what real hardship is, not 2 days of riding a bicycle, real hardship is childhood cancer. I’m not naive, and I’ve never believed that life was fair, but a child with cancer just strikes me a being fundamentally unfair. To that end, I’ve been fund-raising with Damon since the beginning of his journey in 2010.

Fast forward 2 years to March of 2012, and at Damon’s annual fundraising 5k race I learned that the incredible person I met only a year and half earlier died just shy of his 17th birthday and my foundation was shaken. The young man who spoke so eloquently, who was so full of life and so athletic taken from us before he could be a man, it hit me hard. When I found out the local fund-raising totals for Coast to Coast were down I started thinking. Then when someone finally said, “Hey, why don’t you ride this year?” I really started thinking that maybe it was my turn to really help. Maybe I could be that guy who represented how important this was, how much this cause needs our help that I could sacrifice 1 short year out of my long life, 3 short weeks out of my generous time on earth, so that WE could make a difference to the many who deserve so many more years of joy and excitement and health. I’ve been gifted with good health, and strong legs, why couldn’t I be the guy to show people that riding across Canada isn’t impossible, it’s just really hard, just like beating kids cancer isn’t impossible, it’s just really hard, and just like training for the ride, if we put enough time and effort (and money) into it, we CAN get it done?

My young friend Adam said, “If you don’t fight the fights you might not win, how can you call yourself a champion”. I’m honoured to have been chosen as part of this fight, and promise to do everything in my power to win, for Adam, and his parents, and all the kids and parents fighting against this terrible disease.

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