It’s a 200-kilometre ride that a Maple Ridge man never imagined he’d go on.
During a trip to the Coquitlam Beer Festival in 2016, James Woron came across a booth fundraising for the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s Ride to Conquer cancer campaign.
Seeing the stand reminded Woron of his friend Stephanie, who had shared that she had lost her own mother to breast cancer.
“I remembered thinking when she told me about it, I wish there was something I could do,” said Woron.
And with that, he signed himself up to train for the Ride to Conquer Cancer, an annual fundraiser that benefits the B.C. Cancer Foundation.
“At the booth, I just thought, ‘Why can’t I do this Ride to Conquer Cancer?’ I’m going to ride, and I’m going to ride for the mom that she’s lost.”
Woron discovered the booth was in support of Team Taylor, which is the team he started to ride with and continues to do so.
Woron’s first ride was last year, and he calls it the most rewarding thing he’s ever done.
This year, the Ride to Conquer Cancer begins on Aug. 25 at the Cloverdale fairgrounds in Surrey, where riders cycle to Chilliwack. On Day 2, riders cycle from Chilliwack to downtown Hope.
Woron said the upcoming ride is even more important to him now because last winter his friend Stephanie was also diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I did the ride for the first time last year and it was the most rewarding thing in my whole life. This year means even more because I’m riding for her. This year I’ve really given it my all and set a high target to fundraise.”
Woron said he’s raised approximately $6,500 this year from fundraising on social media, selling raffle tickets, and working at the Coquitlam beer festival.
Woron’s goal this year is $7,500 before the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
“The most important thing is trying to help people,” said Woron.
To prepare for the first ride, Woron cycled 950 kilometres.
“I did it and I signed up and I never regretted it. This year I haven’t ridden as much, but I’ve done a lot of training. Once you get started, it’s a great thing to be involved with.”
Woron said some of the best parts that come with riding are meeting teammates, making friends and sharing stories.
“When you get involved in something like this, it opens your eyes. To get all my gear together, grabbing my bike, riding to meet someone, I’m thinking to myself, ‘This is something I never thought I’d be involved with.’ It’s totally exciting and the worst thing that can come from it? I’m raising money for breast cancer.”
Team Taylor was founded by Steve Parsons, who lost his son Taylor to brain cancer just weeks before his high school graduation in 2003.
Team Taylor is in its seventh year and has raised over $335,000 for cancer research.
Aside from money for research, Woron said the event is a strong support system.
“Nobody gets forgotten. When you’re going through a struggle in your life, the smallest thing, the smallest gesture, saying hello, goes a long way,” added Woron.
• Those wanting to donate to Woron’s fundraiser for Team Taylor can do so by going to his Ride to Conquer Cancer website.