BY BILL PHILLIPS
Karin Piche has a prized possession. It’s a golden bicycle helmet.
“It’s a token of appreciation for riders who have done the Ride to Conquer Cancer for five years,” she says. “It’s a huge accomplishment … a sense of pride in helping out with cancer research.”
Piche, who lost a close friend, Nola, to cancer several years ago, decided to ride in the Ride to Conquer Cancer presented by Wheaton Precious Metals benefiting BC Cancer Foundation, a 200-kilometre ride from Vancouver to Seattle raising money for cancer research. Along with her was her friend Nola’s brother, who has also participated in five Rides the Conquer Cancer and received a gold helmet this year.
“It was kind of nice for both of us to cross the finish line together,” says Piche.
It’s also the fifth year of the Wheelin’ Warriors, the local group of cyclists who do the ride every year. Wheelin’ Warriors of the North were founded in October 2012. That year, what started off as a team of one, then three, eventually became a team of 33 for its inaugural ride in 2013. Since that founding year, the team has grown to include over 125 cyclists and crew members that have raised over $720,000 for The British Columbia Ride to Conquer Cancer.
The million-dollar mark is well within sight.
“We can do this, we’re not that far off,” she says. “This year’s team has the potential to raise more than the last.”
The team raised $142,000 in 2017.
In 2018, the Ride to Conquer Cancer will be an all-Canadian affair, with the route going up the Fraser Valley instead of down into the U.S.
“Every year it’s a little bit different,” says Piche. “This year was outstanding in that we had 47 riders, 41 of them are coming back to do the ride again. Six are new recruits.”
Also helping out this year was a $500 donation from the Brink Group of Companies to help out with expenses. Piche was one of 10 local athletes the Brink Group selected to help out financially.
“There’s so much involved … there’s the training and the fundraising and one of the things that sets us apart is the logistics behind it,” says Piche.
The entire 47-member team, and support staff, has to find their own way to Vancouver and their own lodging once they get there.
“The costs add up,” says Piche. “That donation went a long way in helping with that. That was amazing.”
So what’s ahead for Piche and the Wheelin’ Warriors of the North?
“Just keep going,” she says. “(Finding a cure for cancer) is a never-ending story at this point. I’d like to put an end to it … that’s our goal to put an end to the story.”