Age: 48 years old
Occupation: Owner/Operator of Tim Hortons #2130
Hometown: Peace River, Alberta
Family: Married to Barb with four children: Annie, Emma, Harrison and Clark
My biggest physical accomplishment(s) to date: Alberta Law Enforcement Torch Ride for Special Olympics
In the News: Local man cycles for kidsí cancer
In the News: 36 Cyclists to Pedal 6,800 km across Canada!
In the News: Riders raise funds for kidsí cancer treatment
In the News: Kids helping Kids!
In the News: National ride hits home
Paying it forward
My passion for riding started as young boy. I remember as if it were yesterday…my sister and I racing out the back door to ride the only bike we had. It was oversized for both of us, with tape wrapped around the tires and rims to hold the bulges in it - quite a ride. I was struggling to get my left sneaker on and tied up (of course, the original Chuck Taylor canvas high top, black) - a task I have since mastered, thanks to Velcro. My sister had the lead going out the back door, and like any good little brother I pushed her off the porch right into the corner of the garage, breaking her arm. I sure kept a low profile after that incident. Not to worry, my sister returned the favour two-fold. Within 48 hours of breaking my sister’s arm, I became the hero…the cast was on the on the arm of the thumb she sucked, and she would not suck the other. My mother was so happy, I remember her saying it was unfortunate this didn’t happen sooner. Winter came and soon Christmas was one sleep away. I was the first one up, and can still see the bright blue bike in front of the tree…perched on its kick-stand, banana seat with the big handle bars, and three speeds. I rode that bike inside the house and drove Mom crazy. My interest for riding has remained.
My wife Barb and I have four children: Annie 15, Emma 12, Harrison 5 and Clark 4. Our youngest son Clark was born on June 12, 2004. The doctors suspected that Clark had Down syndrome. The diagnosis was later confirmed through genetic testing. He was also diagnosed with a hole in his heart. The diagnosis of Down syndrome was not as concerning as the hole in his heart. At 7 months old Clark had open heart surgery at the Stollery in Edmonton. It was a successful repair, and he started to grow steadily. When Clark was 18 months we received news about his health that parents should never have to hear: Clark had cancer - AML, a rare form of leukemia. We found ourselves once gain on the doorstep of the Stollery, receiving outstanding medical care and attention. Clark and my wife spent 6 months at the University Hospital in Edmonton. Our life on Cancer Island changed our family forever. Clark is, at present, 2 and 1/2 years in remission.
It was during one of Clark’s follow-up clinic visits that I read a newspaper clipping about the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride. I immediately thought, “Now, THAT is something I could do to help.” It took time and a lot of soul searching to finally complete the registration. I’m glad I did. I hope through doing this ride and raising funds, perhaps I can in some small way pay our thanks forward and perhaps make a difference in the young children and their families who are going through the same health issues as Clark did.
I am both honored and thrilled to be accepted to participate in this ride. I look at it two-fold, a personal challenge for myself, and my way to give back. I know there will be obstacles on the ride, but none of it could compare to parents receiving the news that their child has cancer. Witnessing Clark and the other children battling this disease with such strength, hope and optimism was so inspiring. They are my new heroes. In comparison, a ride across the country seems a doable thing! Having the health and freedom to assist in raising funds for such a worthy cause is the least I can do! I will ride for Clark.
“Saddle Up, Sink Some Spur and Ride” John Wayne