Dr. Howard Conter and Karen Conter are thrilled to be participating in the 2021 Ride for Cancer powered by BMO Bank of Montreal to bring new, cancer-fighting genetic sequencing technology to the QEII Health Sciences Centre. 

A Halifax couple has been raising funds and preparing to ride in this year’s Ride for Cancer powered by BMO Bank of Montreal – side by side for each pedal of the way.

Howard Conter is a family physician in Halifax, and his wife, Karen Conter, is now retired from her work in research. In their free time, this philanthropic power couple usually participates in four to five major fundraisers a year.

“Everything we do in fundraising and for the community, we always do together,” Howard smiles.

“Philanthropy is something we got from looking at our own parents. You just realize how lucky you are to have healthy kids and grandkids and realize you have to give back.”

Howard and Karen are thrilled to be participating in this year’s Ride for Cancer, a cause that Howard first became involved in from his connections with the QEII Foundation as a board member and emcee at previous fundraising events.

“Every year, Ride for Cancer has been getting bigger and bigger,” Howard says. “We’ve always donated, but last year, I wanted to get even more involved, so I cycled 50km in the event.”

“It’s fun to be a part of such an incredible cause – and it’s a little bit more challenging than just writing a cheque.”

This year, Howard’s back for another 50km ride along with Karen, who attended last year’s event for support. “I saw the energy and excitement of everyone riding, and I got a little jealous,” Karen laughs. “So, this year I’m going to ride 50km along with Howard and our team.”

“It’s so fun to do, especially with friends and loved ones,” says Howard. “There’s so much excitement, and at the end of the day, there’s lots of congratulations. It’s such an incredible day of camaraderie.”

So far, Howard and Karen’s team, Team Robotics, has raised an astounding $57,210 for this year’s Ride for Cancer, which will help bring new cancer-fighting genetic sequencing technology to the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

“With [genetic sequencing], you have specific treatments for specific cancers,” Howard explains. “For each individual, you’ll be able to find the gene and the molecular breakdown of that particular cancer and design almost a boutique treatment for that cancer.”

This targeted technology means that healthcare teams will be able to match treatments to a specific type of cancer as opposed to a group of cancers. “It’s a tremendous opportunity,” Howard says.

For Howard and Karen, advancing technology and cancer treatments at the QEII is also essential to continue building a centre of excellence in health care: “It’s a necessary cause for us. We both understand the importance that the better technology we have at the QEII, the better minds we’re going to bring here. It continues to build on itself.”

“We have to support our local hospitals,” Karen says. “We can help people recover from illnesses so that they can go on to have productive lives with their families.”

Just like our 1,300 other Ride for Cancer 2021 participants, the thousands of event supporters, and countless others in our communities, Howard and Karen have also felt the impact of cancer, and are proud to be facing the fight in this year’s Ride on October 2, 2021.

“My father passed away from pancreatic cancer, and Karen’s father did too,” Howard says. The Conter family has also lost other friends and relatives to the devastating disease.

“There’s no family in the world that hasn’t understood what cancer is. And even more importantly, more people are now surviving and fighting back against cancer. Supporting this cause as a community – it’s a no-brainer.”

Help fund the fight against cancer by donating today at YourRideforCancer.ca. You can also support Howard, Karen, and Team Robotics by clicking here >>

 


 

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.

So far, Kathy MacPherson has helped her team raise $3,000 for their 2021 Ride for Cancer powered by BMO Bank of Montreal by selling homemade baked goods. Contributed.

Kathy MacPherson is combining her talent for baking with her love of cycling to support Atlantic Canadians facing the fight against cancer.

This year, Kathy is riding 75 km with Ride for Cancer powered by BMO Bank of Montreal, an event she joined in 2018 to maintain her cycling hobby – and to give back to her community.

“When I turned 50, I started cycling to work from Cole Harbour to the IWK as a nurse to keep up on my health and fitness,” Kathy explains. “I did it for years, then work got busier so I started driving again. When I retired, I saw Ride for Cancer as a great opportunity to get back into cycling.”

Like countless others in our community, Kathy and her family have been touched by cancer. She lost her father, some other family members, and a few dear friends to the disease, and felt moved to do something for those facing the fight.

“I felt drawn in some way to the QEII Foundation and to Ride for Cancer. I wanted to do something here, something now,” says Kathy.

When Kathy retired, she also took the opportunity to enroll in a professional baking course to learn how to create delicious pastries and breads.

“It really elevated my use of flavors and taught me how to bake in large quantities,” says Kathy.

With her newly honed skills, Kathy thought that baking would be the perfect way to fundraise for her Ride.

“I have a booth at the Heritage Farm in Cole Harbour on Wednesday afternoons,” Kathy says. “I have also been doing online fundraisers through social media, where people can comment and buy my baking. It’s been really successful – people keep asking me to let them know the next time I’m selling some!”

Kathy’s assortment of lemon-infused cinnamon rolls, focaccia breads, cookies, scones and more have helped her team raise nearly $3,000 and counting for this year’s Ride.

rum raisin challah bread

Kathy’s rum raisin challah bread

Even though Kathy’s days have been bustling amidst baking and her part-time return to nursing on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s still finding time to cycle to prepare for her Ride – with a little help from family.

“This year, I’m looking forward to riding with my son, Aaron, and granddaughter, Brooklyn,” Kathy reveals. “In some of my earlier Rides, I got a bit lonely towards the last few kilometers. Having them along in this year’s Ride for Cancer will be really motivational. It’s a great thing to do with the family.”

“There’s always so much energy during Ride,” Kathy smiles. “People are so supportive and happy. It makes such a difference to know that we’re really making advancements in cancer treatment, extending people’s lives and their quality of life.”

Thanks to the support of her family and the palpable energy and excitement in our community surrounding Ride day, Kathy feels well prepared to tackle whatever this year’s event throws her way. Kathy also has her own motivations that she holds close to her heart while she’s riding along Nova Scotia’s winding trails.

“During one of my solo Rides, the final 20 km were uncomfortable and a bit painful,” Kathy shares. “But then I thought of my friend with cancer and the pain he suffered through during his many radiation treatments. That kept me going too.”

While Ride for Cancer has hit capacity for in-person registrations to safely execute the event experience for 2021, you can support Kathy, Aaron, and Brooklyn’s team and help fund the fight against cancer by clicking here!


 

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.

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.