After dipping their wheels into the ocean in White Rock, 26 cyclists with the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride stopped at the Langley Sears for a quick breakfast and some cheers of support on Thursday, Sept. 5.
As quickly as they arrived, the cyclists were off again, beginning their marathon 17-day ride across Canada to raise money and awareness for the fight against childhood cancers.
Moving the crowd to tears, Patrick Sullivan, of Team Finn, shared the story of his toddler’s cancer battle.
“I ride for Finn, who embraced the life he was given,” said Sullivan. His son Finn died of cancer in 2008. He was only three.
He held up the courage beads his son was given at B.C. Children’s Hospital, each bead given for another surgery or therapy Finn had to brave his way through.
“I ask you not to say someone lost their battle with cancer. Finn died but he never lost a battle.”
Through his tears, Sullivan talked about some of Finn’s battles, like having surgeons cut through the boy’s abdomen and pancreas to remove a tumour the size of a baseball.
“Kids go through hell,” he said.
These are the reasons we ride, said Jeff Rushton, the founder of the Sears Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation.
Langley Sears manager, Signe Bell, stressed that 100 per cent of funds raised at Sears go directly to kids with cancer, research and B.C. Children’s Hospital.
“I want customers to know that nothing goes to costs or fees. It all goes directly to the cause,” said Bell. Sears have donation boxes at the cash register and will be holding fundraising events around the cause.
Now into its sixth year, the ride has raised $6 million in B.C. and $30 million across Canada.
And the money is making a difference. Positive outcomes for children diagnosed with cancer is growing much higher, with 70 per cent becoming long-term survivors.
Emily Degroot is a nurse who works at the children’s hospital in Moncton, NB. It’s her first time riding.
“I get to ride the first half and then I will be a medic for the other half the ride,” she said.
To learn more go to searsnationalkidscancerride.com.