From left to right: BMO employees, Ina Comeau-Collins, Financial Planner (Yarmouth & Liverpool) and Laura Gibson (second image, far left), Vice President of Commercial Banking (Nova Scotia & PEI)

As title sponsor of BMO Ride for Cancer, BMO’s commitment to transforming local cancer care here at home runs deep.

For many BMO employees, the annual cycling event and the impact it creates is incredibly personal – inspiring them to get involved as riders, donors and volunteers.

Employees Laura Gibson and Ina Comeau-Collins are longtime BMO Ride for Cancer participants. Every year, they rally their loved ones, friends and colleagues to support their fundraising efforts through their workplace team, BMO on the Go.

“We have coworkers who ride with us who are cancer survivors, but the reality is that we’ve all been impacted by cancer in some way,” says Laura.

For nearly forty years, Laura’s aunt, Anne, battled and survived cancer before eventually dying of breast cancer. The pair were extremely close, with Laura describing Anne as her aunt, godmother and friend.

“Each year I ride for her, incredibly grateful for the time we had together,” says Laura, who’s participating in her eighth BMO Ride for Cancer this September.  “Through loved ones and friends, my family has been touched by this disease too many times to count – it’s a cause that definitely hits home.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Ina.

“Every single person I know has been affected by cancer in some way – you feel surrounded by it,” says Ina.

According to Ina, that’s why giving back and supporting those facing this disease is so important.

“I’m extremely grateful for my health and, that at 62, I can ride and help make a difference,” says Ina. “I don’t ride fast, but I can still get on my bike and raise funds that will directly impact cancer patients and families across our province.”

It’s the local impact that really drives Ina in her fundraising. The Yarmouth resident is a financial advisor who works at BMO branches in both Yarmouth and Liverpool.

“I live in Yarmouth, which is three hours away from Halifax,” says Ina. “More times than not, the people in my life who are directly affected by cancer have to travel to the city to the QEII Cancer Centre for their treatment and care.”

The QEII Cancer Centre is the region’s largest and most specialized cancer treatment centre – seeing nearly 3,000 patients a week, from across Atlantic Canada, for a variety of treatments and supportive and follow-up care. Since 2015, BMO Ride for Cancer has raised more than $7.9 million net (and counting!) for cancer-fighting technology, equipment and spaces – impacting nearly every patient who undergoes cancer treatment at the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

“Funds raised through the BMO Ride for Cancer always stay local, which is so important,” says Ina. “The money stays here at the QEII Cancer Centre, which means that the people I see face-to-face who are fighting this are the ones who directly benefit.”

According to both Ina and Laura, team BMO on the Go are no strangers to getting creative with their fundraising.

“Over the years, we’ve done everything from bake sales and 50/50s to barbecues and competitions between different bank branches,” says Laura. “There’s a lot of teambuilding throughout the year that makes this experience so much more than just an event on BMO Ride day.”

For Ina, she feels the full support of her Yarmouth and Liverpool branches in her fundraising efforts – whether it’s through her colleagues or clients.

The pair both say they’re grateful to work for an organization that prioritizes giving back within their communities and leads by example.

“At BMO, we all rally behind this event because ultimately it’s a cause that impacts each and every one of us,” says Laura. “Although cancer has taken away so much from us, through events like BMO Ride for Cancer, we’re making great strides in improving treatments and care.”

To learn more about this year’s BMO Ride cause, visit here or make a donation to Laura, Ina or BMO on the Go today.


Did you know that at select BMO branches, you’ll find our first-ever BMO Ride for Cancer tiptap displays (pictured) that allow you to ‘tap’ to donate $5 directly to members of team BMO on the Go?

Next time you visit BMO’s Bridgewater branch (where Laura is a familiar face) and Yarmouth branch (Ina’s home branch), tap to help fund the fight!