Author: Stephen Roberts, SaltWire – Publish date: May 8, 2024.
Article originally published by SaltWire’s South Shore Breaker.

Patti Davidson knows the impact the BMO Ride for Cancer can make for people: she has experienced it first-hand. Davidson, a cancer patient, first completed the ride back in 2021.

The Halifax woman had been diagnosed with cancer in 2018. After surgery and six months of chemotherapy, it seemed like she was in the clear. But a couple of years later, a CT scan showed that the cancer had returned and had spread.

She is currently still undergoing chemotherapy.

Davidson found out about the BMO Ride for Cancer from a friend and neighbour who had survived cancer. The friend asked her if she wanted to join her fundraising team.

“I always thought I’m not much of a fundraiser, but how could I say no?” Davidson told The South Shore Breaker. “I thought it would be a good thing for me to not only raise money but raise some sort of awareness.”

That fall, her and her teammates felt the exhilaration as they crossed the finish line together.

“There’s people cheering you on, everybody finishes, no matter how far they went, at the same point,” she recalled. “And there’s music, food, and it’s just it’s all those people coming together for a single cause that makes it so worthwhile.”

Each year, the BMO Ride for Cancer raises funds for cancer-fighting technology, equipment and spaces for the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.

Since it started in 2015, it has raised over $10.3 million.

The first year Davidson participated, she wasn’t aware what specific equipment they were fundraising for.

“I didn’t really know about it, I just went to raise money,” she stated.

However, after the ride, she asked her oncologist what exactly this machine they had purchased was. She was stunned by his response.

“He said, ‘we actually just used it on you,’” she recalled.

That year, it turns out she had helped BMO Ride for Cancer fundraise for a genetic sequencing machine.

Per BMO Ride for Cancer’s website, a genetic sequencing machine analyzes the genes of tumour samples. The data informs care teams how a patient’s cancer might progress and its most effective treatment options. This DNA analysis tool allows for targeted treatment for the gene and molecular breakdown of different cancers.

In some cases, it can spare patients from unnecessary treatments. This machine was now helping uncover the genetic makeup of Davidson’s cancer. She says it has helped them to better treat her specific kind of cancer through immunotherapy.

“It was rather amazing that they actually used it on me,” she stated. Having experienced the impact of BMO Ride for Cancer’s fundraising directly, she knows how important these efforts are.

The tangible impact each purchase makes, she says, is why she’s so passionate about the Ride.

Davidson has participated in fundraising efforts each of the last three years and is looking forward to the next ride this September.

She hopes to do the 50 km ride. “It’s almost like the 50 km that I ride is not really 50 km,” she said. “It’s not a race in any matter but the encouragement and all the people that are brought together and that number of people all gathering together on one day for a common cause, it’s magical.”


In its tenth year, the BMO Ride for Cancer was recently recognized by the Peer-to-peer Professional Forum, as the #5 peer-to-peer cycling event in Canada: a sign of how big the ride has gotten.

“It means a lot,” commented co-chair Scott Macintyre. “We’ve had over 100 different corporations in Halifax and Nova Scotia be involved in this, last year we had 1,300 riders registered, so there’s been thousands of riders, staff, hundreds of companies, tons of people have made donations: the whole community has won this award.”

In just 10 years, it has become Atlantic Canada’s largest cycling fundraising event.

With both trail and road routes, it includes eight distance options, ranging from 25 km to 160 km.

The ride takes bicyclists from Halifax along the South Shore, riding as far as Chester before returning. The Ride for Cancer was founded by Simon Roberts. He approached QEII with the idea and Macintyre joined him in support.

“In our particular families, we’ve had people that have passed away from cancer and struggled with cancer and a number of our friends,” Macintyre explained. “It was a very top of mind issue for us. We wanted to do something positive.”

They both enjoyed cycling and came up with the concept to raise funds through a cycling event. The event is put on by the QEII Foundation.

While most riders are from Halifax, they get people from all over. And they always feel the support of the South Shore whenever they ride through.

“It’s great and inspiring, people are on the side of the ride cheering you on,” said Macintyre. “The South Shore has been integral in this whole thing and it’s a beautiful part of Nova Scotia.”

This year, the Ride is fundraising for liquid biopsy technology. This uses a patient’s genetics to uncover whether they are cancer-free after surgery. Liquid biopsy is a non-invasive method to detect cancer DNA, following surgery, in a blood sample without the use of traditional surgical methods.

In the weeks and months leading up to the Ride, participants will be fundraising as individuals or, like Davidson, on behalf of their teams.

Donations can be made at by clicking “Donate” at the top of the page. There is then an option to donate to a specific rider’s campaign, like Davidson, by searching their name. People can also register for the Ride on the website.

Copyright @ 2024 QEII Foundation. All rights reserved. Charitable Business No: 88646 3496 RR0001