I first tackled the 200+km Tour De Cure (then called the Ride to Conquer Cancer) in 2010, the second year of this monumental fundraising event. Since then, life has brought a great deal of change. Ive retired, returned to work and retired multiple times. Rick and I have become empty nesters as our children launched themselves far away from us into their own lives. I learned to swim decently enough to finish a few triathlons, found a passion for cycling, and have had many great adventures exploring Vancouver Island, Alberta and our favourite place, Australia. Ive also been able to continue to fundraise for the BC Cancer Foundation, raising at least $25k over the years through events such as this ride.
Since I crossed the 2010 finish line in Redmond, cold and exhausted, I was buoyed by the optimism of the event and became hopeful that my family and friends would be finally be done with Cancer. But sadly, that has not been the case, and Cancer has continued to ravish both the Gunderson and Leahy families. We lost our wonderful, kind, caring brother-in-law, Stan Rose, our adventurous, talented brother-in-law, Rob Laurie, and our uniquely adventurous brother-in-law, Gene Jespersen.
Over the past 12 months, Cancer struck yet again. My youngest sister Erin, still grieving the loss of her best friend (Rob) and having witnessed her wonderful in-laws, Malcolm and Jamina, recover from their respective cancer treatments, started her battle with Breast Cancer. My niece Tegan, who seems to follow in Erins footsteps in too many ways, is also undergoing Breast Cancer treatment. She is way too young for this crappy disease.
And so I will ride again and again for all my family members and friends who we have lost, are recovering, or will have to face their own frightening diagnosis someday in the future. We may meet Cancer again and again, but Im hopeful that the funds raised through this event will help with early diagnosis and treatment advances that will someday make Cancer just a simple little blip in life.
Please consider donating to support my ride this year and help me remember Patcee, Stan, Rob, and Gene, and show support for Tegan and Erin as they recover.
The 200+km ride takes place August 26, and 27th and is from Abbottsford through Chilliwack, ending in Hope. Funds raised are in support of the BC Cancer Foundation.