2008 Event: The Final Word
It was 5 years ago in June of 2003 that I, along with 5 crazy (but passionate!) friends decided to cycle from Vancouver to Halifax in 10 days to start the process of raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer! That incredible experience taught me about the exhilaration of cycling for a cause you truly believe in, and the importance of focusing positive energy and enthusiasm to help others. At the end of that adventure we found ourselves thinking about a bigger goal; a goal to scale this small event to bring together Canadians and communities from coast to coast in support childhood cancer charities.
And five years later, we have the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride, a coast to coast odyssey that is the fulfillment of that dream: a dream to create a caring, passionate community that is committed to make a sustainable and meaningful difference in the quality of life and survivorship of children living with and beyond cancer.
The 2008 Sears National Kids Cancer Ride has had lofty ambitions against which we have made real progress: first, to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer programs and initiatives across the country, and second to establish a solid base to scale the event annually in communities across Canada. 50 incredible cyclists and 45 unbelievable national crew members cycled across this great country from June 2 to June 20, we stopped at the many pediatric oncology units in hospitals across this great country meeting families who have been impacted by childhood cancer.
We were all deeply touched by the incredible spirit of generosity we encountered - from the child who gave us his entire allowance for the cause, to the small restaurant that contributed 30 pizzas for hungry riders and crew, to the spontaneous and heartfelt welcome we received everywhere we went - the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride is clearly a positive force that can truly unite all of us in the fight against childhood cancer. Here is just a quick sample of some the journey and the incredible people that made up this year’s event:
Our Foundation – the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation – is dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life of children living with and beyond cancer. As a primarily volunteer-based organization, we believe:
- In giving 100% of individual donations to the charities we support;
- Paying our Event costs and Foundation expenses through corporate sponsors, registration fees and volunteer staff;
- Bridging and encouraging collaboration amongst childhood cancer researchers, doctors, agencies, charities and service providers; and
- Focusing on the areas of greatest need, where we can make a real impact and drive measurable progress in the fight against childhood cancer
When you are with people for almost a month on the road, not to mention the countless hours, weeks and months of preparation and training, you get to experience and share many fragile human emotions. Tears flowed often in our encounters with children undergoing cancer treatments, and their courageous and caring families. But there were many other moments as well, moments of laughter, moments of exuberance, and a true feeling of personal discovery and achievement. And what we all came to realize is that if you bring together a group of like-minded people who share a common passion and belief, almost anything can be achieved. Watch this slide show:
Personally, I came to understand that a true hero is an ordinary person who performs an extraordinary act of courage…and does it neither for fame or glory but as a self-less expression of love for others in need. To me, the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride and everyone associated with it – our sponsors, our riders, the incredible ambassador families, the 40 volunteers who supported us for the entire 20 day adventure, as well as the countless supporters, families and children we met along the way – is the true face of heroism.
Like our trip in 2003, I experienced yet another personal transformation, one that showed the true power of a community focused on a common cause, and the amazing spirit of children battling cancer along with the devotion of their caregivers, and health care professionals. The grace and confidence these young people demonstrated as they talked about their battle with cancer, and their dreams for the future left all of us in awe of the power of positive thinking. The human spirit is an amazing thing.
From all of us at the Foundation team, a HUGE thank you to the national cyclists & crew, to our wonderful sponsors, to the hundreds of volunteers across the country, to the thousands of people who have donated THANK YOU. All of you have had a dramatic and profound impact on me and on this event.
Our 2008 adventure in one sense is over as the 50 brave souls have completed their 7,600 km odyssey across Canada. But in a true sense, the journey has just begun as we will continue this fight annually for years to come. Our motto: Destination Beyond Cancer tells us how much work is still to be done. And how much help we still need from you to continue fundraising so we can meet our goal of $1.5 million for the critical funding needed.
So my appeal to you, is that if you are interested in helping, I ask that you continue to spread the message about our cause and the need for donations to achieve our goal.
I am deeply honoured and blessed to have had the opportunity to be part of such an incredibly caring and passionate team committed to our mandate.
You have our commitment to continue the fight every day, every month and every year until parents no longer hear the words “your child has cancer”. We are honoured and humbled to be part of this journey and this cause.