The 2009 Sears National Kids Cancer Ride was the continuation of a journey our team began a few short years ago; a journey to making a meaningful, and sustainable impact on the health outcomes of kids living with and beyond cancer.
This year’s event was truly inspirational. The event saw 36 selected National Cyclists, supported by 50 incredible National Volunteers, ride 7000 km from Vancouver to Halifax. This amazing National Team drawn from many parts of Canada accepted the often complex challenges of this event in a gracious and selfless manner, and made us proud, becoming dignified ambassadors, ardent spokespeople and fervent fundraisers for the cause of childhood cancer. Along the way, our National Team visited 163 communities across Canada many of whose members came out to meet and sometimes ride-along with the National Cyclists. And give generously from their hearts. The result is that this year’s ride will raise in excess of $1.5M of which 100% of every dollar will be donated to fund vital national childhood cancer research, education and survivorship programs as well as local programs and initiatives for the 17 different pediatric oncology units and hospitals across the country.
The National Team battled winds, rain, and many unexpected situations, but persevered to truly engage the people they encountered in this important cause. And in turn Canadians from coast to coast surprised us with their generosity, providing ride-along cyclists, volunteers, fundraisers, community events, bbqs, marching bands, police escorts, and, most important, local families impacted by cancer, who came out to tell their personal stories of how this dreadful disease is impacting them and their community.
Just before we began our coast to coast journey at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach, I found myself looking out into the ocean with my good friend Mike Smith. I became overwhelmed by a wave of emotion; overwhelmed by how, in a few short years, what started out as a few individuals wanting to make a small difference in the lives of families impacted by this disease, had turned into a truly national movement raising awareness and funds for this important cause.
How did this happen? Three simple words came to mind: “because it matters”. It matters because childhood cancer is still the leading cause of non-accidental death of kids in Canada. It matters because 50% of those surviving children continue to have ongoing long-term impacts from their treatment. It matters because 10,000 Canadian children are currently suffering from cancer, and every year 1,800 more receive that diagnosis. And most of all, it matters because parents are still hearing the words “Your child has cancer”.
My ride this year was dedicated not only to all Canadian children impacted by cancer, but also to one very specific brave 15 year old friend of mine, named Adam who is currently fighting this dreadful disease at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. His spirit, determination and optimism represents everything that we fight for …a fight that Adam, and the more than 80 other families who spoke at our community events across Canada continue to struggle with the hope that one day that they can achieve the ultimate goal: to just let kids be kids again. I guess the message that will live with me forever was from a young man named Josh who spoke at our community event in Burlington, Ontario. With courage and conviction he reconfirmed the importance of our mission when he said ”Ride for the kids who are battling cancer now. Ride for those who will be diagnosed in the future; and Ride for me, until I can ride with you.” Here is just a quick sample of some the journey and the incredible people that made up this year’s event:
As a volunteer based organization the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation is honoured, and humbled, to have had the opportunity to organize and participate in this event. Our Foundation is dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life of children living with and beyond cancer. We believe:
We are blessed to have truly amazing sponsors, and inspirational volunteers who, once again, ensured we achieved these objectives. We are blessed to have a passionately committed team of national cyclists and volunteers whose personal commitment is truly heroic. We are blessed to have witnessed the spirit of generosity of communities who embraced us because of the importance of the cause we fight for. And we are blessed to have the opportunity to meet and listen to the stories of those families impacted by kids cancer.
The journey of the 2009 Sears National Kids Cancer Ride is far from over. The Destination: Beyond Cancer is our goal. And we can achieve it with the help and support of each of you:
We are deeply blessed and truly proud to have had the opportunity to be part of such an incredibly caring and passionate team. You have our team’s commitment to continue the fight until parents no longer hear the words “your child has cancer”. Our motto: Destination Beyond Cancer tells us how much work is still to be done.
On behalf of the entire Coast to Coast Against Cancer team, we are honoured and humbled to be part of this journey and this cause.
Founder and Passionate Volunteer
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