Photo caption: Article originally published by the Chronicle Herald and SaltWire.com. Participants at the 2022 BMO Ride for Cancer event. Photo credit: Uncharted.

Author: Bhanvi Arora, SaltWire – Publish date: February 8


Registration for Atlantic Canada’s largest cycling fundraising event, BMO Ride for Cancer, is officially open.

The 10th annual event, which has made a life-saving impact for Atlantic Canadian cancer patients and their families, is expected to sell out in record time.

Nova Scotia has the highest cancer rates in Canada. The BMO Ride for Cancer event is hosted by the QEII Foundation and raises funds to help combat these statistics and support patient care.

Scheduled for Sept. 28, the event will see more than 1,400 participants riding and fundraising to transform local cancer care at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. Every participant commits to fundraise a minimum of $1,000 that directly supports cancer care at the QEII.

BMO Ride for Cancer was originally founded by one of my best friends, Simon Roberts, who is a cycling enthusiast like me. In 2015, we went to the QEII Foundation with the concept of a cycling event for cancer. The idea was to utilize the road and trail to have a bike ride that was very inclusive. It was meant to be a tool to raise money for cancer care in Nova Scotia,” says Scott MacIntyre, BMO Ride for Cancer volunteer co-chair.

“Cycling was a big part of our lives from a fitness perspective, and it was one of the fastest growing sports in North America. In this event, people can choose which distance they want to ride. We wanted it to be participatory and not a race,” explains MacIntyre.

The idea behind the event was to raise money to buy equipment for cancer treatment at the QEII.

“Working with our cancer care teams, our goal was to fund critical items and technology that significantly improve the care and treatment journeys of our friends and families. Now in our tenth year, the impact we’re able to create has grown exponentially,” adds MacIntyre.

BMO Ride for Cancer offers eight picturesque distance options via the Rum Runners Trail or road. All participants start and end their cycling journey in Bayers Lake (Halifax), with the opportunity to ride some of the most scenic South Shore routes. Participants celebrate their extraordinary achievements in-person with live music, cheerleaders, food and more as part of the epic finish festival.

“It feels good to know that we’re doing something important in our community by helping to improve the lives of others,” says Catherine Campbell, BMO Ride for Cancer volunteer co-chair. “Raising these funds are critical as it helps ensure the most advanced cancer care is available for anyone who needs it. With our alarming cancer rates in this province, it’s about being part of the solution to a problem that has plagued us for a very long time and isn’t going anywhere.”

The event is open for all ages and abilities – a seasoned cyclist, a first-time rider, or any level in between.

“It is an accessible event as most people can ride a bike. A few years ago, I had someone on my team who was 80 years old and youth as young as five years old can participate. It also promotes cycling, which is good for our health and the environment,” says Campbell.

 


Caption: BMO Ride for Cancer volunteer co-chairs, Scott MacIntyre (left) and Catherine Campbell, have been longtime champions for the region’s largest cycling fundraising event. Credit: Cooked Photography.

Mission to Fund Liquid Biopsy Technology

This year, BMO Ride participants will be raising funds to bring liquid biopsy technology to the QEII Health Sciences Centre. Through this technology, a simple blood test will be conducted after a patient’s cancer surgery to help determine if they are cancer free, the earliest signs that their cancer has returned and, if so, the most effective treatment options.

The objective of the event is to fund this rapid cancer detection and monitoring for patients who have already undergone treatment. The life-changing benefits of this technology include improving survival rates and providing potential cures with earlier detection and personalized treatment options. It will also provide the following benefits:

  • unlocking access to more clinical trials;
  • sparing patients from unnecessary treatments and harmful side effects;
  • reducing the number of visits required to the QEII, which ultimately impacts wait times; and
  • providing critical answers about a patient’s cancer sooner, helping to relieve anxiety and worry.

Faster diagnosis saves lives and liquid biopsy technology is set to introduce a new era of personalized medicine in Nova Scotia.

“Cancer is not just painful physically but there’s also a mental strain for those who are worrying about whether they’re going to live or die and if their cancer has returned. So, early diagnosis for patients who’ve already undergone treatment helps alleviate their mental anguish too,” adds Campbell.

According to MacIntyre, liquid biopsy technology uses a person’s DNA to determine if cancer is cured or not.

“Once we fund this, the goal is that people in Antigonish or Cape Breton or Yarmouth or Kentville can go to their local clinic or hospital for a blood test, it’s then analyzed at the QEII using this innovative equipment and it directly informs their treatments or next steps” says MacIntyre.

“This is going to be groundbreaking to help diagnose cancer recurrence quicker, keep care closer to home and ensure equitable access,” explains MacIntyre.

Impact Created in The Last Ten Years

Since 2015, the BMO Ride for Cancer community has funded more than $10.2-million worth of cancer-fighting equipment, technology and spaces at the QEII Cancer Centre.

“Why people keep coming back and taking part in this event is the fact that the funds raised by our participants directly help patients here at home. We show our riders the very real and tangible impact that their donations make possible,” explains MacIntyre.

According to Campbell, the funds raised to date by the BMO Ride community impact nearly every cancer patient who receives care at Atlantic Canada’s largest and most specialized cancer treatment centre.

“We’re making a big and immediate difference in the lives of our neighbours, colleagues and friends and also supporting future generations,” says Campbell. “It’s an easy event to get behind.”

Are you ready to save lives? Secure your spot in the 10th anniversary BMO Ride for Cancer and transform local cancer care by registering today: YourRideForCancer.ca.

 

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