A self-professed gym rat and fitness junkie, Catherine Campbell, of Halifax, NS, was initially discouraged when her gym shut down in the early pandemic. She was missing a major source of community and friendship, and had to find a new way to challenge herself.

“When I joined Ride for Cancer, I went all in. It became my focus,” she says.

Both a member of the event’s executive cabinet and a three-time rider, Catherine will join more than a thousand riders in the fight against cancer again this year.

Whether on the road or inside on a trainer, she pedals hundreds of kilometers every month in training.

And like many who will be up before the sun to ride on October 3, Catherine shows up for deeply personal reasons.

“I lost my best friend to cancer at the age of 30. Ever since then, cancer has been a part of my vocabulary,” she says.

“It was soul crushing,” Catherine says. “Honestly, she is as close as I’ve ever come to a soulmate. She was just my person.”

2020 was a big year in many ways – but on a personal level, Catherine celebrated her 50th birthday and reached the 20 year mark of living without her best friend.

A Ride ambassador, you may see Catherine appear in advertisements across the city leading up to event day. The word “fearless” is painted across her face. That word really resonated with her.

“Calculated risk is very much a part of living a full life,” she says.

Catherine is leading her own team this year, alongside her co-captain and friend, Colin, who she calls “Fast.”

“Our friendship really blossomed through Ride for Cancer,” she says. “We met through other cyclists in our network and realized we had both participated the year before.”

And alongside the pair, both Colin’s son and 80-year-old father will be riding together this year – three generations showing up as one team.

“There’s nothing like being part of a community focused on a singular goal – for a cause that will affect all of our lives at some point,” Catherine says, who in addition to her best friend, has lost grandparents to cancer, and witnessed two aunts survive it.

“We get to be part of the solution, bringing the research and technology to this region,” she says.

This year, funds raised through Ride will purchase genetic sequencing technology – advanced technology that evaluates the genetic makeup of an individual’s cancer tissue. These results guide important decisions surrounding care, and can even spare someone from unnecessary treatments. This matters, especially for people facing late-stage cancers.

“I’m so proud of Nova Scotia from a medical perspective and a health perspective,” Catherine says. “We’re a hub for all this knowledge and research – and anything we can do to bring those brilliant minds here and keep moving forward – how can you say no?”


 

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.