From Vancouver to Halifax, with love

Cranbrook woman takes part in cross-country bike ride, raising money for kids with cancer

Riders on the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride get set to dip their wheels in the Atlantic Ocean after completing a 17-day

A Cranbrook woman is back from a fundraising adventure that took her and a team of cyclists across the country.

Barb Wilhite took part in the fifth annual Sears National Kids Cancer Ride, which aimed to raise $1 million for kids afflicted with cancer.

Wilhite went along the 17-day trek as part of the support team, driving an RV that accompanied the 25 cyclists from coast to coast.

“We started out from Vancouver, dipping our wheels in the Pacific, and made our way across the country to Halifax, where we dipped our wheels in the Atlantic,” Wilhite said.

The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride is one of the biggest charity cycling events on behalf of childhood cancer in the world. Wilhite said 100 per cent of all funds raised through donations goes to facilities dedicated to children living with cancer. So far, of that million-dollar goal, $756,000 has been raised, with more pledges expected.

The team left Vancouver on September 5, and finished in Halifax September 21, after more than 6,000 kilometres. The journey roughly followed the TransCanada Highway, although Wilhite said the group was routed along less busy secondary roads for safety’s sake.

The group’s day got going at 5:30 a.m. each day with breakfast, followed by a group meeting. “Each day we heard a story about a specific child who was either living with cancer, had succumbed to cancer, or had won the fight with cancer” Wilhite said. “And that day’s ride would be dedicated to that child.

“It made each day very emotional, and personal.”

The ride stopped in 150 communities along the way, and Wilhite said they got great reception and support wherever they went. They participated in community events and visited pediatric oncology centres and hospitals.

This was Wilhite’s first time on the ride. Her brother has been doing it for five years, and his son, Wilhite’s nephew, also got involved in the inaugural ride in 2008.

“I had previous vacation time planned” she said. “I got home on Sunday evening, and left Monday morning for Vancouver.

“When I got to Vancouver, I only knew my brother, but everybody took me under their wing. For such a large group of people (riders and support personnel) we were pretty like-minded. We shared this common goal.

“I would definitely go back, and do it again,” she said.

For more information on Sears National Kids Cancer Ride, or to make a donation, visit www.searsnationalkidscancerride.com.