Erin Thibault is a Paediatric registered nurse, high-performance AquaBike/ triathlete and triathlon coach in Halifax.

Erin has competed around the world in places like New Zealand, Australia, Mexico and all over the States and Canada. Currently, Erin has her sights set overseas with hopes to compete at the 2021 World Triathlon Multisport Championships in Almere-Amsterdam, the Netherlands this September.

“I am planning on taking part in the AquaBike long course, which is a 4-kilometre open-water swim followed by a 180-kilometre bike. But with COVID – who knows if the competition will still be held,” Erin explains. With so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic in terms of travel, Erin is choosing to find purpose in what she can plan for – making a positive impact here at home.

Erin will be taking part in this year’s Ride for Cancer powered by BMO Bank of Montreal in the 160-killometre road route, starting in Bayers Lake, riding to Chester, and taking the picturesque Aspotogan loop along the beautiful coast of the South Shore before riding back to Halifax.

“I chose the word PURPOSE across my face to represent finding a new purpose with not being able to travel and compete. My purpose is to use what I do as an athlete to bring awareness, raise funds and rally the community around the great needs in cancer care locally,” says Erin.

Funds raised will bring the QEII Health Sciences Centre one step closer to introducing new state-of-the-art genetic sequencing technology to analyze the genes of thousands of tumour samples each year. Better outcomes, fewer side effects, access to a new therapy or clinical trial are all benefits this technology will bring to cancer patients, here at home. It can even spare patients from unnecessary treatments. This is a game-changer for those patients facing late-stage cancers.

Erin works at the IWK Health Centre as an OR nurse and often works with patients who have been diagnosed with cancer, “I work with kids when they’re getting their port-a-cath inserted or taken out,” says Erin. “Days the port comes out are always party days for us.” Port-a-caths are sometimes used to give intravenous chemotherapy, and other drugs to cancer patients.

“Everybody knows at least somebody that has either had cancer or dealt with it in relation to a close family member or friend. There’s always a connection there. That’s why I’m riding this year. I also like having something to train for – I always like to have a goal I’m working towards. Training for this ride will keep me active and give me another outlet for my energy.”

Erin has been active for as long as she can remember. She got into swimming at a young age, encouraged to become a strong swimmer by her family because her grandfather had tragically drowned. She fell in love with the sport and went on to teach swimming lessons and become a lifeguard.

One Canada Day, Erin watched athletes compete in a triathlon around Lake Banook in Dartmouth and thought to herself, “I could do this.” Erin challenged herself and started to train. To start, Erin took part in a team triathlon with a couple of friends. Erin did the bike portion, “Our goal was simply to finish and we did, with a better result than we anticipated. That was the last race of the season, so then my goal became to train over the winter to do my first race by myself the next summer.”

Erin successfully competed that following summer and after a few years in the sport, she made it her goal to qualify for the triathlon World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand in 2012. She reached that goal and placed third in her age category. An incredible accomplishment.

“That’s where my passion for travelling and sport really started – and my obsession with always looking for the next adventure and challenge. I’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, travelled to Africa, skydiving in New Zealand and repelling – I was finding my purpose in all sorts of different things. Now that travel and adventure are looking a little different, this event will serve as my next challenge and thing to look forward to.”

Erin is building her team to take part in this year’s Ride for Cancer powered by BMO Bank of Montreal, inspiring others to join the fight against cancer for patients and families in Atlantic Canada – but also for something positive to do for your own wellbeing.

“It’s a great thing to feel like you’re doing something for other people that also brings value to your own life,” says Erin. “You’re raising awareness, you’re contributing to better cancer care for our local hospital, and you’re becoming a part of a new community. There are so many positives – there is nothing to lose and everything to gain. Whether its community, friends, a healthy lifestyle or a new challenge, we could all use something to look forward to right now.”

Taking place on October 2, 2021, Ride for Cancer powered by BMO Bank of Montreal will see hundreds of participants, inclusive of veteran cyclists like Erin, and recreational and rookie riders, riding their choice of distance options via the Rum Runners Trail or by the road – a safe distance apart. You can support Riders like Erin now by donating to this year’s Ride for Cancer powered by BMO Bank of Montreal at yourrideforcancer.ca/sponsor


 

Rider Stories are presented by:

Our Ride Community is comprised of inspiring advocates, warriors, survivors and fighters. This community is the reason we ride, to make an impact on cancer care for them and for future generations. As a proud sponsor of Ride for Cancer, AstraZeneca helps share these stories and inspires our community to continue the fight against cancer.