You may have already noticed the newest carving around town.
It’s the one of the cyclist, standing proudly with a real yellow and blue bicycle over his head, and it sits outside the Hope Recreation Centre. The colours of the bike represent the colours of the BC Cancer Agency, and the statue is a testament to the feat of strength that is the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
It’s title is simply: I Conquered It!
Last year, on Aug. 25, more than 2,100 Ride to Conquer Cancer cyclists from across the province rode into Hope — a journey consisting of approximately 200 km of cycling over the course of two days, beginning in Cloverdale with an overnight in Chilliwack. It marked the first time that the journey finished in Hope. While it was destined to finish in Hope for the first time in 2018, the forest fire on Highway #7 forced changes to the route.
While the ride may be new to Hope, it has a long history of supporting cancer research and cancer patients alike.
Each year, money raised from the Ride to Conquer Cancer goes to the BC Cancer Foundation with an incredible $9.1 million was raised in 2019 alone.
In Hope in 2019, riders were greeted at the finish by an impressive chainsaw carving depicting a jubilant cyclist with bike held in the air. The statue has now been moved into its permanent location. An unveiling was held on Wednesday afternoon in the rain.
The statue, which stands at approximately 15 feet and is located at the Hope Recreation Centre, was commissioned by a long-time supporter of the BC Cancer Foundation, William McCarthy. He was at the unveiling with his son John, and explained that their family hopes the carving brings awareness to the fact that “cancer is everyone’s fight.”
It was carved by renowned professional chainsaw carver, Ryan Cook of Vancouver. Cook carves full time and competes internationally, including at the biennial Hope Chainsaw Carving Competition. McCarthy, an avid collector of chainsaw carvings and frequent visitor to Hope, said he called Cook with his vision, and the rest came together. The statue is officially sponsored by his family, McCarthy Properties.
The unveiling was a timely one, as it is just days before World Cancer Day on Feb. 4. The unveiling included Mayor Peter Robb, the senior director of the Ride to Conquer Cancer from the BC Cancer Foundation, Lindsay Carswell, Shannon Jones, executive director of AdvantageHOPE, and several local Ride to Conquer Cancer participants.
As the rain poured down, Carswell noted that the statue will be there in all of Hope’s weather, and that in itself is a symbol of the feat that riders go through on the tour and in training, and that cancer patients go through in their own journeys.
Its plaque states: Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come.
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