We cannot afford to be tired

2018-06-11  |  Events |  Posted by: Steve Merker

“Hey Steve, with this being the 11th annual Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, do you ever get tired of it?”

It took me a nanosecond to respond. “I was up at 2:47am Saturday. Excited, nervous, partially stressed, but totally pumped for the Ride, yet again. No, it doesn’t get old.”

The Ride has themes that re-occur year after year…but they never get tired. Like a roller coaster, it’s thrilling to experience the ups and downs of a Ride no matter how many times you go for a ride.

My roller coaster of emotions started with our opening ceremonies speaker. The young and vibrant Julianne got up in front of thousands and delivered her story like a seasoned pro. Her personal story has been a roller coaster. Julianne was diagnosed with bone cancer two years ago and has had several different surgeries and chemotherapy treatments to attempt to control her disease. While going through her treatments, Julianne maintained her winning ways as an OFFSA para track and field star representing St. Michael’s High School in Niagara Falls. She’s a true athlete with an Olympian sprit!

On Saturday morning, I had the privilege and honour of introducing Julianne in front of the massive peloton of Princess Margaret supporters. Right before our kick off ceremonies, Julianne’s father Joe, told me that they recently received some unfavourable test results and that Julianne was going to have to go through yet more treatment.

Knowing this, I did my best to hold back emotions as I heard Julianne deliver her message to the 7000 + Riders, volunteers and spectators. Hardest part of my role here at PMCF.

During the Ride, I was thrilled to pull up beside the tandem bike with Joe and Julianne rolling along. We had a nice chat about her stuffed animals who were strapped to the bike, and also about how she has been posting on Facebook enthusiastically all weekend… sometimes while in motion! Not going to lie, I could barely speak as I pulled away, knowing that Julianne was about to embark on another kind of  journey, much longer and more challenging than a two-day roller coaster-esque bike ride between Toronto and Niagara Falls.

Two hours later, my friends and I pull up beside World cycling record holder and Olympic medalist Curt Harnett. Curt jumps in with our little peloton, and we jam away for an hour. What an honour and privilege to Ride with Curt. Here’s a world champion cyclist, riding alongside 4,555 Riders, including Julianne, all in pursuit of a common goal…to conquer cancer.

The pursuit of that goal is going to take a no-quit attitude.  Julianne has that attitude. Curt Harnett, along with the thousands of Riders in our peloton over the weekend, have that attitude. We cannot afford to be tired. It’s going to take all of us to keep pedaling with the highs and lows of this roller coaster journey.

See you on the Ride in 2019. Ride On.