Magnus prepares for national kids cancer ride

Langley’s Chuck Magnus one of the 36 riders who will embark on a cross-country ride to raise funds to fight cancer

Chuck Magnus and his daughter Kristen, a cancer survivor. The Langley man is taking part in the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride this September. Submitted photo

Chuck Magnus’ daughter, Kristen, asked her father whether people knew she wasn’t a child.

The question brought a smile to his face.

“I had to stop for a second,” he recalled.

“Kristen, you will always be my kid,” is what he told his daughter, the middle child of three.

For the past six years, Magnus has ridden in the Ride to Conquer Cancer but this September, will mark the 60-year-old Langley man’s first time embarking on the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride.

Thirty-six riders are split into two teams, with one team completing the journey in 18 days and the other in nine days, both beginning in Vancouver and finishing together in Halifax.

Magnus is doing the former, meaning he will ride around 200 kilometres per day.

Each participant has chosen someone to ride for, but Magnus is riding for two people: Ryder, a little boy from Port Alberni who is battling leukemia and his now 35-year-old daughter Kristen, a cancer survivor.

Magnus, a realtor with Remax Little Oak Realty, is relatively new to cycling, taking up the activity six years ago.

“I saw people of every age group there, and I looked at them and everyone had such passion in their face. I was spellbound by it,” Magnus recalled.

“Watching so many people from a range of ages cross that finish line was powerful for me. I understood that each individual must have set a huge goal for themselves to achieve crossing that finish line,” he said.

The following weekend, he went to a bike shop in Langley, told the sales associate he wanted a bike, and was on his way.

When Kristen was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, a good friend told Magnus about the Ride to Conquer Cancer, so he set out training and preparing for the two-day ride from Vancouver to Seattle as part of Team Finn.

“I felt nervous, emotional and excited but still had no clear picture of what was ahead of me,” he said. “All I knew was, for me, this ride was for Kristen and deep down, nothing else mattered.”

She beat the cancer and Magnus has continued to do the ride every year. Prior to last year’s ride, Kristen’s cancer returned.

With his daughter following him online from New Brunswick where she now lives, Magnus had an amazing ride.

“I rode with such passion that I finished my time two hours early,” he said.

Following the ride, he travelled back east to visit Kristen, and as fate would have it, came across the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride.

Listening to the riders and hearing their stories, Magnus said the words struck a chord and he knew he had to ride.

So he will do both rides this summer, with the Ride to Conquer Cancer Aug. 26 and 27 and then less than two weeks later, the cross-country trek.

“I think the most amazing thing about this is I get to ride right through Kristen’s backyard,” he said.

As part of the event, the riders visit 200 communities — including a stop at the Sears at Willowbrook Shopping Centre — and many of the 17 pediatric cancer facilities across the country.

“To complete an exhausting day of riding and then having the incredible honour of visiting a Children’s Hospital and see the faces of those dear children suffering and fighting cancer, will be more than enough to remove any aches and pains I may be feeling,” he said.

“Whether it is a little boy named Ryder that I have adopted in Port Alberni, or it is Kristen, they are still children and what we are doing, I believe, is so important.”

Sears National Kids Cancer Ride

One hundred per cent of the donations go directly to the Ride and in its nine years, more than $11 million has been raised.

Magnus is aiming to raise $100,000 and as of June 14, had raised just over $48,000.

He is also one of two Langley men participating in the ride, alongside south Langley’s Al McNabb.