Be inspired by Martin Michaud
Though Martin Michaud is lucky to have never personally battled cancer, he has a tremendous amount of motivation for participating in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. At only 32 years old, Martin has lost both his parents to this disease. “My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and passed away in 1996, when I was 17 years old,”
he explains. “Not much later, in 2010, my father lost his battle with kidney cancer.”
Martin spent much time searching for an opportunity to combine his passion for cycling with a cause worthy of honoring his parents. “When I heard an advertisement for the Ride on the radio, I didn’t hesitate. I registered right away,”
he explains. “It was a chance for me to ride in memory of my mother and in honour of my father who was fighting cancer at that time.”
His father was there to watch him cross the finish line in the 2009 Ride- something Martin will cherish forever. Today, he rides in both their memory.
One thing that specifically stands out for Martin is the people he comes across throughout the Ride weekend. “You meet so many amazing people,”
he explains. “I find myself riding alongside survivors with yellow flags donned on their bikes. It really motivates you to keep pedaling.”
At times, Martin would find himself among those who inspire other cyclists. “People hear my story, and they tell me how incredible it is and how strong I am,”
he begins. “What’s incredible, though, is how I’m not alone in this. Everyone has their reasons for participating, and we’re working together as a community to share the experience, and to help beat cancer.”
2012 will mark Martin’s 4th participation in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. “Raising money and riding such a long distance may seem difficult,”
he explains, “but it really isn’t. What’s difficult is having to face cancer. Think of all the husbands, wives, parents and children who have been affected by this disease. If you put yourself in their shoes, doing the Ride is the least we can do.”
Be inspired by Gina Pinsonnault
At the age of 19, while tuning in to a local radio station, McGill student Gina Pinsonnault heard an advertisement for The Ride to Conquer Cancer. “I always enjoyed cycling, and had never embarked on such a huge cycling event,”
the young woman from Brossard explains. “It was something I had to try.”
It was more than her love for cycling that motivated Pinsonnault to participate. Prior to registering, her boyfriend’s mother lost her battle with ovarian cancer. “It was my first experience being touched by cancer,”
she explains, “and it motivated me to help in any way I could.”
The Ride also took on a symbolic meaning for Pinsonnault. “My dad and I used to set out on long bike rides,”
she begins, “and one year we decided to cycle to Quebec.”
Unfortunately, a terrible rain storm stunted their journey and they were forced to return home early. Shortly after, Pinsonnault’s father died of a sudden heart attack. “Doing The Ride to Conquer Cancer also became a way to finish what my father and I started,”
Pinsonnault first participated in the 2009 ride as an individual, and has since then joined Team Kahnawake. “Being part of a team is great because you can organize fundraisers together,” she explains, “yet I’ve still managed to use some of my own resources to reach and exceed my fundraising goal.”
Despite being a busy full-time student, she personally witnessed how achievable fundraising really is. “I was surprised at how quickly the funds added up,”
she explains. “I started by organizing bake sales at school. I then sent out e-mails and used Facebook extensively to reach out to as many people as possible.”
With her friends and family helping her spread the word, Pinsonnault even received donations from total strangers. “I couldn’t believe the generosity of people I had never met,”
she says. “It shows that cancer affects everyone, and everyone is willing to do something to help.”
Now 22 years-old, Pinsonnault will be cycling for the third consecutive year in the 2011 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. “You need to have hope when you’re faced with something terrible like cancer,”
she says. “It’s easy to get distracted by our busy lives, but by keeping what is important in perspective, we can make a huge difference. This is why everyone should participate in The Ride.”
Be inspired by Adonna Greaves
For Montreal resident, Adonna Greaves, life took an unexpected turn in November of 2005 when she received the news that she had breast cancer. “I wasn’t thinking at all what my future had in store for me,”
Greaves explains, “but I knew that whatever came my way, I was going to fight it.”
Cancer was no stranger to Greaves. In addition to her sister being an 8-year cancer survivor, Adonna’s friend and long time client Bev lost her battle with lung cancer, leaving behind her husband and two children. After learning about the Ride to Conquer Cancer, Adonna’s motivation to sign up for the 2010 Ride stemmed from further than her own battle with cancer. “I wasn’t riding for me, I was riding for all those in my life who have battled cancer.”
As an experienced fitness professional, Adonna has always been an active person, but she did not consider herself to be an avid cyclist. However, her strength brought her to set out on the heroic journey she had ahead of her. “I’m a very determined person, and if I believe I can do something, I will finish it,”
says Greaves. In July she completed the 280km Quebec Ride to Conquer Cancer. “The Ride was an adventure of a lifetime,”
says Greaves. “Along with the beautiful scenery, the encouragement you receive from family, friends, other riders and even the communities we rode through was truly inspirational.”
To this day Greaves continually looks on the bright side and uses her own experience to help others. “I train people who have cancer”,
she explains, “but my training is more than physical. It includes a psychological component as well, empowering them with the strength to fight the fight, one day at a time. Once you receive a cancer diagnosis, people become scared that they can’t live their regular lives, but when you spend time with others who have lived a similar experience, it can really help you cope.”
Greaves has re-registered for the 2011 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. “Anyone can complete the Ride if you put your mind to it. Don’t fear anything, be confident in yourself and just go for it!”
Be inspired by Chrisy Yau
Thirty-two year-old Montrealer Chrisy Yau came across a Ride to Conquer Cancer brochure
while attending a yoga class. She’d been practicing yoga twice a week for almost 3 years,
but hadn’t been on a bicycle since she was 8 years old. A cycling journey to conquer cancer
seemed to be just what she needed to bring new inspiration into her life. Once Yau learnt
that her grandmother’s lung cancer treatment had been unsuccessful and she was transferred
to palliative care, she made her decision official.
Yau’s journey is what she calls “the biggest physical challenge of my life”.
Not only had she not cycled in years, she was never into sports and conditioning: “When I registered,
my fitness level was mediocre at best!” Firmly determined to be in shape for the Ride,
she decided to train no less than 6 times a week, in addition to her full-time job.
“It’s a big lifestyle change, and it’s been a while since I had a big goal like this.”
For Chrisy, working out is not the only challenge; she’s now watching what she eats, has
virtually stopped drinking and has given up dinners with friends to keep up with training.
In addition to yoga she also trains at Crossfit 2-3 times a week. Her workouts include
all sorts of exercises including the row machine, air squats, presses, burpees and box
jumps. She sees both practices as reinforcing each other, improving her endurance and
overall well-being. “I’m receiving many comments from different people saying that I now
have a natural glow”.
Despite the intensity of her training sessions, she’s enjoying every bit of it. In four
weeks of training, Yau is already seeing results: “I've dropped almost 2 sizes! I
definitely have a lot more energy, I'm more focused, I’m stronger and my cardio is
getting better too”.
To keep her motivation up, Yau has created a blog to keep track of her progress in which
she details her experience while getting ready for the Ride. Only a month after embarking
this mission, her life is changing for the best: “Once I decided to do this, I've become
alive again”. Starting in January, Yau will add spinning to her training, as well as road cycling rides.
Since she registered in October, Yau got herself a bike, created a team called “Gluttons
for the Cure”, raised 1000$ and has planned seven fundraisers for 2012.
“This has been a life-changing experience and it's only the beginning. It has been
emotionally, physically and mentally tough, but in the grand scheme of things, compared
to what my grandmother and other cancer patients have to endure, it's peanuts.“
Be inspired by Sylvie Bérubé
Gatineau resident Sylvie Bérubé did not hesitate one moment to register for the Pharmaprix Weekend to End Women’s Cancers when her sister-in-law lost a battle with cancer, 6 years ago. That year, Sylvie walked 60km and raised thousands of dollars with her colleagues.
A few months after her first Weekend, Sylvie learned that she has cancer. Five surgeries later, she won the battle for her own life. This test has transformed her perspective: “Soon, I will turn 50 years old. I am very happy to grow older. I’m looking forward to being 60!”
This year marks Sylvie’s fifth year of involvement in the major cancer fundraisers. This time around, she is trading her running shoes for a bike and will cycle 250km in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, in July. Known for being dynamic, the mother of two teens has no fear of fundraising and no fear of training. Each year, her motivation stays strong:
“As you grow older, you realize that you need to give to people. I want to give to save lives, whether it’s mine, other people’s or the lives’ of future generations” says Sylvie. Aware that science and progress are keys to finding a cure for cancer, she believes that the responsibility lies in the hands of the people: “if we don’t take action, nothing will change”.
Raising 2,500 $ for The Ride to Conquer Cancer will be no problem to Sylvie. In fact, she intends to raise twice as much. In the 2011 Weekend, Sylvie’s team, Team Gatineau, raised 58 000$, 10 000$ of which came directly from her own fundraising efforts. Her secret? “My big mouth!” she says.
Despite having support everywhere, she admits that there is no magical solution to fundraising. You have to commit yourself and not get discouraged. Last year, a week from the event, Sylvie raised 1000$ at a spaghetti dinner she organized.
“Before I held this dinner, I had already raised 9000$. I could have sat around and walked for this amount, but no way! I kept going until the last minute! I stay involved until the end, I do not sit down and I brag about the benefits of what I do”.
In spite of all her demands for donations, she is amazed by people’s generosity and desire to help conquer cancer. “I tell them they can consider the efforts I am putting into training and the distance that I will be riding this summer. The Ride to Conquer Cancer won’t be easy. But I’m doing it because I can”.