Great Ride n’ Stride to raise funds for can­cer re­search

Lo­cal routes will host par­tic­i­pants in Apr. 30 event with a fundrais­ing tar­get of $15,000 for Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - LIZ BEVAN

FOR MORE THAN THREE decades, cy­clists, walk­ers and run­ners have been rais­ing money for can­cer re­search with the Great Ride n’ Stride through the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety. This year’s event has a goal of $15,000, and takes place on Apr. 30.

Sarah Brad­shaw, a breast can­cer sur­vivor, is on the lo­cal or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee. She says the event hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years, but im­prove­ments haven’t been needed. Fam­i­lies have been par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Great Ride n’ Stride as the years go on.

“You know, it is in­ter­est­ing, we’ve had it in dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties, and I would say that there was a strong pres­ence in New Ham­burg for a bit, but that strength has moved into the KW area,” she said. “Elmira is a solid event for us, but a lot about it hasn’t re­ally changed and I think that has been in­ter­est­ing for fam­i­lies. Some of our orig­i­nal par­tic­i­pants have grown up and brought in the next gen­er­a­tion to join in.”

The event is suited for ev­ery­one of any age and phys­i­cal fit­ness level. The idea is to raise aware­ness and funds for can­cer re­search, not race to the fin­ish line. Reg­is­tra­tion starts at noon and par­tic­i­pants hit the road at 1 p.m.

“It starts out at the Wool­wich Memo­rial Cen­tre, then peo­ple go down to the Kiss­ing Bridge Trail, and then they can go to­wards Flo­radale and then they get to de­cide how far they want to go. You can go to Flo­radale, you can go to Wal­len­stein, they can de­cide if they are walk­ing, rid­ing a bike, bring­ing the dog, push­ing a stroller. Then peo­ple can turn around when they need to, and typ­i­cally about 2 p.m. we have peo­ple com­ing back,” she said.

Brad­shaw has seen the re­sults of in­creased re­search into can­cer treat­ments first­hand.

“One of the things that I al­ways re­fer to is how in­cred­i­bly well we have done in tack­ling some of the ma­jor can­cers. There has been so much money put into re­search and we have seen some re­ally great re­sults. Mor­tal­ity rates have re­ally dropped since the 1960s,” she said.“You have peo­ple like me, who had fairly ad­vanced breast can­cer, and my sur­vival has to­tally been based on the fact that there has been re­search done on breast can­cers that has re­ally helped to make treat­ment much more ef­fec­tive.”

There is still some work to be done, how­ever.

“There are al­ways sad sto­ries, and un­for­tu­nately, there will con­tinue to be, but I think that you can see the progress. That I think is very hope­ful for peo­ple.”

Or­ga­niz­ers have upped their fundrais­ing goals af­ter see­ing a huge turnout last year.

“Last year, we hit about $14,000, so I said to the com­mit­tee, ‘let’s top that.’ We are go­ing for $15,000 this year. It re­ally just de­pends on the peo­ple who come out,” said Brad­shaw. “Last year, we had a cou­ple of groups that ral­lied around spe­cific peo­ple and they re­ally did well. They al­most egged each other on, which was kind of neat. Peo­ple re­spond to that.”

The event will be run­ning rain or shine on Apr. 30, and Brad­shaw en­cour­ages any­one and ev­ery­one to come sup­port can­cer re­search.

“Just come out and do what you can, and raise what you can. Ev­ery bit helps. It all goes to­wards a good cause. I think peo­ple feel that if they can’t raise $500, then what’s the point? But, even that $10 makes a dif­fer­ence in how much re­search we can fund, how many rides we can of­fer, that kind of thing,” she said.

[FILE PHOTO]

The an­nual Ride n’ Stride is com­ing back to Elmira on Apr. 30.

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