Rob Hamelin of Maple Ridge has two good reasons to take part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
The Ride, from Vancouver to Seattle, Aug. 26-27, is the province’s largest cycling fundraiser. Since 2009, it has raised over $77 million for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.
In the last three years, two people in Hamelin’s family have been diagnosed with cancer.
First, it was his cousin’s 11-year-old son, who had acute myeloid leukaemia.
Then his wife Tracy.
At 32, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 B Cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Prior to her diagnosis, Hamelin and his family knew something was wrong. A few months into her pregnancy, she was having pain in her hip and thought it was just the baby, sitting on a nerve.
The pain didn’t go away after the birth of their daughter, Keira, in 2015, so the couple went to a doctor. After a few more appointments, she was sent for X-rays on her hip, which revealed a mass.
They learned the cancer was also in her arm and chest.
The end of January 2017 marked her first treatment at the Abbotsford Cancer Centre. She completed treatment in June.
Since, the family has supported the B.C. Cancer Foundation.
Before his daughter was born, Hamelin was a mountain biker. But since she was born, he hasn’t been able to spend much time riding.
The Ride to Conquer Cancer is a way for him to give back and get back into cycling.
“Over the last couple of years especially, my family has been impacted from cancer,” he said. “My cousin’s 11-year-old son was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and is in remission. This year, my wife Tracy was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and after six rounds of chemo is also now in remission. One of my uncle’s recently was diagnosed with an incurable form of stomach cancer. Each of these people have all shown strength in battling this disease and I will show my strength in riding 250km throughout the Pacific Northwest in their honour.”
Living in Maple Ridge, Hamelin loves to ride the trails in the area. He doesn’t usually plan out a ride, he just gets on his bike and is prepared to explore a specific area or destination near his home.
Though he and his wife only have one daughter, they have frozen eggs at a fertility clinic and hope to have another child in the future, growing their family and proving that cancer can be conquered.
In a few weeks, Hamelin knows his daughter and his wife will be at the Ride finish line in Seattle, cheering him on and ready to greet him with open arms, celebrating over 250-kilometres conquered in support of the B.C. Cancer Foundation.