On Sunday morning, September 10th, a little before 9:30am, a group of cyclists were greeted by Shawn Nawaz and his family, owner of the Leduc Sears Hometown store. They were part of the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride that started in Vancouver on September the 4th, and is scheduled to end their ride on September the 17th in Halifax.
Sears has sponsored this event since 2008, and during that time, has raised over six million dollars with all of it going to fund research cures for cancers that affect children in every province across Canada.
In all, there are nineteen riders in this year’s event, and they have been split into two groups as they cross Alberta and Saskatchewan. One group is taking a southern route, while the other headed for a more northern route until they get to Winnipeg, where the group will combine for the rest of the way across Canada. The average age of the riders is 40 and those who ride are your basic every day Canadian. The riders come from across Canada and each one have, or know, of children that have been struck by cancer.
The oldest in the group is 62-year-old Jean Barry. Jean is from Moncton, New Brunswick, and answered the call to ride to help a niece who was three years old when diagnosed with leukemia.
One of the riders, Ken Cross from Kingston, Ontario has been involved in the ride for the past four years. Ken has three daughters, and in 2008, his middle daughter, Megan, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She went through five months of painful chemotherapy and in 2010, required a bone marrow transplant from her older sister Leah. Their younger sister Emma also contributes to the ride as each time her dad rides, it is always during the time of her birthday, and she has to get her ‘Happy Birthday’ from her dad by way of Skype. Ken was very proud of all his daughters and mentioned that last year, his oldest, Leah, was able to participate in the ride for a few hours.
Mayor Greg Krischke was there to greet the riders and personally shook each rider’s hand and welcomed them to Leduc. Mayor Krischke was asked to sign a jersey and after thanking the riders for their involvement in this worthy cause, wished them a safe journey.
The riders stayed only long enough to refuel with water, juice, and nourishments provided by the Leduc Sears store and staff, talk to the media, and for some stretching before they were back on the road heading for Highway 2A and Wetaskiwin.
If you wish to help the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride, they can be found on the following website: www.SearsNationalKidsCancerRide.com.
See more photos in this week’s paper.
Pictured: Sears Kids Cancer Ride arrives in Leduc. Photo by Tom Dirsa