More than 5,200 cyclists are making their way from Ontario Place to Niagara Falls and back this weekend in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
The charity cycling event has raised $119 million in the last seven years for Princess Margaret Hospital’s personalized cancer medicine program.
This year’s ride raised $20 million.
Steve Merker, the ride’s chief cycling officer, said anyone can participate in the two-day, 200-kilometre journey.
“A couple years ago we had someone on a unicycle doing this ride. I’ve seen people do it on BMX bikes, on mountain bikes, on hybrids, on roadbikes, and anything in between. So anybody can do this ride if they really put their mind to it,” Merker said.
He rides into work at Princess Margaret from Richmond Hill to prepare for the trek.
— Princess Margaret CF (@thePMCF) June 7, 2014
Alongside Merker, thousands of riders whose lives have been affected by cancer make the journey.
— Heather Richardson (@HeatherR36) June 7, 2014
“In 2009 my dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and in 2013, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Most recently, my uncle succumbed from multiple myeloma and amyloidosis,” said Andrea Rodriguez, a sixth-year rider from Oshawa, in a press release.
“I am riding in 2014 to celebrate my life as a cancer survivor, to honour my dad’s ability to conquer cancer, to remember my uncle and to fundraise for cancer research at The Princess Margaret. Unfortunately, at some point in everyone’s life, we’re all going to be affected by cancer and we need to conquer this disease before we lose more of our loved ones.”
Two in five Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer and this year and more than 76,000 Canadians will die from the disease.