Cancer Ride Rolls Through Niagara West Sunday

The quiet countryside of Grimsby and Lincoln will come to life Sunday morning, when thousands of cyclists wind their way through west Niagara.

The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer takes place June 11-12, and cyclists from all over will be riding 200 km, or 200 miles, from Toronto to Niagara Falls over the two-day event to raise funds and awareness for The Princess Margaret Hospital. Last year more than 4,100 participants helped raise $16.1 million for the fight against cancer, an enormous boon on funding for cancer research, treatment and care across the province.
The ride will once again travel through west Niagara. After a breakfast at Mohawk College to open the final day of the ride on Sunday, cyclists will make their way through West Lincoln, Grimsby and Lincoln. A cheering station, for example, will be set up for the 200-mile trek at Atterfliffe Canadian Reformed Elementary School from 7:55 a.m.-11:50 a.m., with riders travelling on Twenty Road and Port Davidson Road, and riders in the 200-kilometre ride will make their way through Grimsby along Ridge Road and Elm Tree Road to Walker Road in Beamsville, and then Fly Road, with a lunch planned at Bethesda House on Fly Road in Campden. Cyclists then make their way to Niagara Falls for the finish.

Beamsville resident Heather Eyk will be one of the many riding this weekend. It will be the first time she participates in the event, and she is looking forward to the experience.

“I’ve never been a big cyclist, but this is a cause that is near and dear to me,” said Eyk, who has lost an uncle and grandmother to cancer over the years.

She was encouraged by a friend to join Steve’s Cyclepaths, one of the top fundraising teams each year. She took up the challenge and has raised $2,915 for the cause, with some support recently via a charity garage sale.

“The support has been great. I have so many friends and family that have responded to this great cause,” said Eyk.

While her longest ride has been 60 kilometres – a trip she just recently made – she is looking forward to the 200-kilometre ride.

“I’ve been preparing since January ... getting bigger and bigger trips. I’m very excited about this,” said Eyk, noting she found it easy to train given her athletic background.

Grimsby resident Kelley Mercuri will be riding for the second time, and said it is an emotional experience.
“The sheer numbers of cyclist at the start was overwhelming, and then the welcome speeches before we set off – had many of us in tears,” said Mercuri. “I remember being told to expect tears to flow...and they did.”
The ride, said Mercuri can be challenging, but the cancer survivors riding alongside her, or those along the route cheering them on, helped motivate her.

“Knowing that they had endured more during the course of their treatments and were riding the same route as I, I absolutely had no real reason to complain about my aches,” she said.

Mercuri, who is also riding with Steve’s Cyclepaths, said she didn’t hesitate to ride again.
“I can and I must ... my father and mother have always taught me to treasure my health, it is one of the greatest gifts we have been given,” Mercuri said. “I am very blessed to have the opportunity to be involved in such an incredible event, and the plan is to find a cure in my lifetime and yours. I am extremely honoured and proud to be part of helping to find a cure for cancer.”

Community support, said Mercuri, is fantastic not only for fundraising, but also during the ride itself. With the route winding through her hometown, she said family and friends scatter the route to give their support and encouragement.

“I had a few tears in the moment (last year) especially seeing my two boys, then my sisters, brother, parents, nieces and nephews and many others,” Mercuri recalled. “They really gave me such great strength to keep on going.”

There is still time to support one of the many local riders participating in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. To make a donation, or for more information, visit www.conquercancer.ca. 

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