Name: Mike Smith
Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario
Family: Wife Alice and two sons, Connor 17 and Devon 14
My name is Michael Smith and I live in Mississauga with my fantastic wife Alice and two sons, Connor 17 and Devon 14 (who are mostly fantastic). I’m originally from Bracebridge where, like in most small towns, there is a distinct feeling of community. I missed that living in a big city so I began getting involved in our community by coaching both our son’s hockey teams. I’ve been coaching 8 years now and it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience.
I began my relationship with the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation 6 years ago at the urging of my friend Jeff Rushton (founder and driving force behind CTCACF) but my journey actually began two years before that with a visit to the cottage that Jeff was renting for the summer. When the wives took the kids and headed out, so Diane could look for a more permanent summer location, I thought we were in for a strenuous afternoon of beer drinking and sitting around with our feet up. I have to admit at that point I didn’t know Jeff that well and didn’t realize the words Jeff and sitting around don’t go together. Instead I ended up on a bike (for the first time in about 20 years) and on a 28km trek across country roads and bush trails in beautiful Haliburton. After we returned (and Jeff finally let me put my feet up and have a beer) Jeff brought up an event he was kicking off (Tour for Kids) and suggested I should join up. Jeff insisted it would be a fantastic way to get in better shape and give back to the community. I told him that as soon as my “you know what” stopped hurting I’d consider it. I missed the first year (my “you know what” wasn’t sore anymore but I still remembered) but I have ridden in the last 5 Tour for Kids and it is one of the true highlights of my year. There is nothing quite like riding under that T4K banner on Sunday afternoon. The camaraderie with the other riders and the feeling of truly making a difference is overwhelming and difficult to put into words. And Jeff was right it was fantastically rewarding as well as heart wrenching. The riding and fundraising was great but it didn’t feel like it was enough. I have been blessed with a beautiful wife and two healthy children and the thought of doing more to honour that good fortune seemed right.
When Jeff approached me about joining the CTCACF to assist in sponsorship development, and anything else he could think of, I jumped at the chance. Working with Jeff and the rest of the CTCACF family has been fantastic. I’ve been fortunate to be part of the first two Sears National Kids Cancer Rides, first as a crew chief and then as member of our community event team, and it’s been a true adventure as well as a moving and uplifting journey. It felt like going across as a national rider would bring the journey full circle. I’m proud to be a member of this group of national riders and look forward to being in some way part of our goal- Destination Beyond Cancer.