Rob McLeod gearing up to ride in the 2022 BMO Ride for Cancer event.

Rider and cancer survivor, Rob McLeod, travels from Vancouver, BC to ride in his third BMO Ride for Cancer event.

A Vancouver resident has been training and raising funds to bring the best cancer care technology to Atlantic Canada through the BMO Ride for Cancer event.

Rob McLeod, originally from New Brunswick, recently retired as a high school principal in Vancouver with his wife, Pam. The two met at Mount Allison University and later “re-met” while he was on tour as a trombone player with Livent, a major theatre production company. The couple later married and settled in Vancouver with their two children.

In 2017, during a charity run, Rob recalls being in a huge amount of pain and being very uncomfortable. Being no stranger to these types of endurance events, he noted that it took a “ridiculous amount of time” to finish the race. Something felt out of the ordinary.

Unfortunately, weeks after the initial pain, things didn’t get better. One night his wife found him curled up on the floor in need of ambulatory care. Medical tests revealed that Rob had a very aggressive form of Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; the same diagnosis that his late uncle received with a much different outcome.

When first diagnosed, Rob and his wife were in complete and total shock.

“You can’t react because you don’t know how to react,” says Rob.

However, with the guidance and care of Dr. Ardashes Avanessian, and support and strength from Pam, Rob was ready to face this fight head-on. The day after his life-altering diagnosis, Rob was sitting at the clinic receiving his first chemotherapy treatment at the Lions Gate Hospital in B.C..

He remembers thinking, “I refuse to let this disease define who I am.” After Rob’s second round of chemo, he and his wife registered for their first half marathon in Vancouver. It was his first “back at it” event following his cancer diagnosis. Although they couldn’t run the event, the two walked the 10 kilometers, making it over the finish line – proving that enthusiasm and positive thinking can keep you moving forward. That event also sparked a renewed commitment to take part in as many charity events as he can from coast-to-coast that raise funds and awareness for cancer care; a cause that was now even more personal to the Vancouver resident.

Left photo: Rider Rob McLeod and wife Pam smile at the finish line at the 2022 BMO Ride for Cancer event. // Right photo: Rob displaying the written names of those who are battling, lost their battler or are survivors of cancer on his jersey.

Rob expresses how grateful he has been throughout his cancer care journey, not just for the direct care from his doctors, nurses, and family on the West Coast, but also indirectly from those who do the research and raise funds to better health care across the country. He says, “it’s my duty to make the most of this life that they’ve given me back.”

Now cancer-free, you’ll find Rob riding 130 kilometers along the beautiful South Shore and with him, written in black ink, the names of those who are currently battling, lost their battle or are survivors of cancer on his jersey. A tradition he keeps alive at each fundraising event. This will be his fourth time taking part in BMO Ride for Cancer, Atlantic Canada’s largest cycling fundraising event on September 23.

Since 2015, the BMO Ride community has raised over $7.9 million net (and counting) in support of cancer-fighting technology, equipment, and spaces at the region’s specialized cancer treatment centre, the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

With his New Brunswick roots, the East Coast holds a special place in Rob’s heart – making BMO Ride for Cancer a perfect fit for the lineup of events and causes he champions.

While he and his immediate family live in Vancouver, he takes great pride in knowing that the funds he raises could one day improve the treatment journey of his loved ones, friends and fellow ‘Mount A’ alumni here in Atlantic Canada.

He explains, “that’s the thing I love about these events, they’re just positive. We’re celebrating the fact that we’re all doing something together to support those facing cancer and we’re celebrating life. I think it’s amazing and I have to do it.”

Help fund the fight against cancer by donating today to You can also fund Rob’s ride >>