The Feenstras are an adventurous family. They spend weekends soaking up the sun – biking, hiking, and in the warmer months, camping off the grid – piling the essentials into a canoe and paddling to a remote island to sleep under the stars.

“When I first met Andrew, I was riding a bike from Canadian Tire. That did not go over very well,” his partner, Tracey, jokes.

As owner of Cyclesmith, bikes are sort of in Andrew’s DNA – and a love for cycling has extended to Tracey and their two kids, Adyson, 10, and Carter, 4.

When they caught wind of Ride for Cancer a few years back, it was a no-brainer to get involved. This year will be Adyson’s second ride – a trooper, among the youngest Riders on the trail.

“The local element is super important,” Andrew says, “funds raised stay here in Atlantic Canada for Atlantic Canadians.”

“And I think the equipment they’re purchasing is amazing,” Tracey adds, “for early diagnosis and less invasive treatments,” she says. “My thought is for our kids. It’ll be here if we need it, but for them – you know, whether they face breast or cervical or prostate cancer in the future.”

This year’s Ride for Cancer powered by BMO Bank of Montreal will fund genetic sequencing technology for the QEII Health Sciences Centre. DNA sequencers analyze genes to assess what treatments will work for an individual and help to create personalized care plans.

The technology can even spare patients from unnecessary treatments – a life-changing impact – especially for late-stage cancers.

Both Tracey and Andrew have been touched by cancer, most recently having lost Andrew’s mom in May 2020. This year, they will honour her as a family on the trail, along with Tracey’s dad, who passed away when she was just twenty five.

“I was living away in Florida at the time. He went into the hospital not knowing what was wrong. He had thought a gallstone was causing him so much stomach pain and sickness,” she recalls.

Tracey traveled home after he was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. The cancer spread to his liver, and fourteen months later, he passed away.

“He was fifty three years old. Losing him was really difficult,” Tracey says, “my dad and I were very close.”

Tracey’s mom is a survivor of the same type of cancer – she had surgery to remove it a month before Adyson was born. Among other cancer survivors in the family are Andrew’s two sisters – both having faced breast cancer.

The prevalence of cancer in Atlantic Canadians – with one in two facing a diagnosis in their life time – is more than a stat for the Feenstras, its lived experience and part of their story. It’s why they ride.

And when it comes to event day experience, Andrew spoke accolades.

“Everything is best-in-class. That’s why the event raised one million net last year. That’s why it’s gone from one hundred to one thousand riders in six years. It’s an amazing event and also a community doing incredible things.”

Cyclesmith has become an integral community partner for Ride, helping to ensure the event’s success year-over-year.

While the Ride has hit capacity to safely execute the in-person experience for 2021, a virtual rider experience is open to all. To learn more or sponsor a rider visit yourrideforcancer.ca/donate.

 


 

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.

 

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