Cancer ride goes virtual, with solo and small group rides happening this weekend

Solo cyclists, small groups replace the 2,000 which would have rolled through Hope this weekend

The annual Ride to Conquer Cancer fundraising ride would have rolled through Hope this weekend, had the province not been in the midst of a pandemic. While some will hop on their bikes anyways for solo and group rides this weekend, others including Dominik Stoll, left, along with his friend and current brain cancer patient, Sebastien Tixier, front, already rode from Vancouver to Hope Aug. 22. (Submitted/BC Cancer Foundation photo)

It was meant to be a weekend where thousands of people would cycle into Hope.

Some would be flying yellow flags to signify their status as cancer survivors. Others would be walking a bike across the finish line without a rider, in memory of a life claimed by a disease that affects one in two Canadians.

These are common scenes from the Ride to Conquer Cancer, the largest fundraiser for cancer research and care in the province that has had its finish line in Hope since 2018. This year, with over 2,000 riders signed up, the decision was made in April to postpone the event to ensure at-risk people including people with cancer were protected.

“It’s regrettable that we won’t be able to finish in Hope this year, because we absolutely feel the support from the community and from stakeholders across the board,” said director of the ride Lindsay Carswell.

As with many fundraising events, the Aug 29 to 30 ride will instead go virtual with people tuning in to an online opening ceremonies at 8 a.m. Aug. 29, a much more modest affair compared to the usual day 1 kick-off which takes place at the Cloverdale rodeo grounds. After the virtual ceremonies, some will ride solo or in small groups to a destination of their choice.

Some will be riding to Hope, including Doug Reddy from the Silver Bullets team together with colleague Rodrigo Marinho and his son Alex. “It’s not the distance I go that will make a lasting impact – it’s the donations that take us one step closer to one day conquering cancer,” he stated in a news release.

Shane Knittle and five fellow firefighting colleagues from the Port Moody Firefighters Local 2399 will ride to Harrison Hot Springs.

Some have already done their ride, including Dominik Stoll riding in support of his friend and brain cancer patient Sebastien Tixier. A group including Stoll, Tixier and others rode from Vancouver to Hope on Aug. 22.

Despite the event not going ahead, donations have still been coming in and a matching campaign by sponsor Wheaton Precious Metals for $100,000 was matched in seven days. A total of funds raised won’t be announced until the ride weekend next year – the event has been postponed to Aug. 28 and 29, 2021.

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