Cyclists provide inspiration

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 09:38 am

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Some 1,800 cyclists provided a reminder that there are a whole lot more important things in life than self-imposed deadlines and the fact the Dawgs are done for the year. As the cyclists rode into the first-day finish line of the 200km Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer in Okotoks on Saturday, the majority of them were wearing smiles, and the few in tears weren’t necessarily crying due to pedaling the tough terrain in the foothills.

The tears may have been due to remembering loved ones who have died — or have beaten — cancer. For example, a team of teachers from Good Shepherd School rode in memory of Courtney Anderson, a teacher who was killed in a car crash in February. However, the ride was part of Anderson’s life. She was a cancer-survivor — having successfully battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2007 at the age of 17. She had rode in the fundraiser several times in her native Ontario after beating cancer.

It was hard to convince the members of Team Courtney that a grizzled-middle-aged had dust in his eyes while getting slightly chocked up when Courtney’s parents’ Lonny and Karen explained why it was important they made the trek from Mississauga, Ont. to cheer on the Okotoks riders.

All the cyclists in one-way or another, just like all of society, have been affected by cancer.

Take the wedding Mike and Sarah Beauchamp of Calgary, who were wed in Okotoks on Saturday at the ride’s overnight station for example. The judge at the ceremony, Sean Dunnigan, is a guy who sits at Okotoks provincial court from time to time. He’s a far less scary guy when he is not in court.

Dunnigan was touching and humourous as he presided in a judge’s gown and biker shorts. It was only after the ceremony while goofing off on the internet, that I discovered Dunnigan, who completed the 200km ride, had lost the love of his life, his wife Jennifer Gardiner, to cancer earlier this year.

Terri Roman, a member of Team Courtney was prodding me to do the ride next year. It’s a great idea, but I don’t know if I have 200km of cycling in me. However, Team Courtney and the cyclists have convinced me that something has to be done to fight cancer.


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