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New Brunswick doctors cycle around province to help cancer patient care

The third annual N.B. Doctors Cycling Against Cancer event is underway. Adrienne South/Global News

A team of New Brunswick doctors is cycling around the province to raise money for improved cancer patient care.

On Tuesday, 11 physicians made their way from Moncton to Fredericton as part of the third annual Doctors Cycling Against Cancer event. The next leg of the journey will see them head to Miramichi.

The five-day event has the team travelling 500 km to raise money to enhance patient care at the Dr. Sheldon H. Rubin Oncology Clinic in Moncton.

READ  MORE: Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians expected to get cancer. Here’s why

Dr. Mohammed Harb, a Moncton medical oncologist, started the fundraiser and said he wants to help patients get the best cancer care possible in Moncton and throughout the province.

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“We started back in 2015 so far we were able to raise $100,000.  I can tell you New Brunswickers are very generous and I’m very proud of [them].  They are so nice and for me this has shown me how people get together and help each other,” said Harb.

He said the goal for 2017 is to raise $55, 000.

“With this money my surgeon colleagues are going to purchase equipment to help our breast cancer patients and melanoma patients,” said Harb.

READ MORE: Anticipated $9.2M oncology centre to open in the fall

Part of the money raised will go towards another piece of equipment to help detect sentinel nodes — the lymph node that cancer is most likely to spread to from a tumor — and allowing surgeons to avoid doing major operations on patients who may only require minor ones.

Tooraj Shakerinia is one of the other surgeons taking part in the fundraiser and said it’s his patients who inspire him to keep going.

“My patients, their courage is the one which gives me the energy to do this and I want to take this opportunity to salute them all and tell them that I’m thinking of them and all those who love them and care for them and it’s them that’s the driving force behind all this for me,” he said.

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READ MORE: Moncton’s head oncologist ‘lucky to be alive’ after cycling accident

Event volunteer Mel Glidden  told Global News she’s a breast cancer survivor and has been volunteering with the event since it started.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and I was quickly put into treatment.  Dr. Harb and Dr. Shakerinia were my doctors, and the patient care that I received was incredible,” said Glidden. “My treatment went very quickly.  I was in treatment for 14 months and still doing treatment when the bike ride began in the first year and I joined as a volunteer.”

She said she helps keep the team safe throughout the week, following along in a van with the group.

The year Glidden wanted to do more, and raffling tickets for a quilt with an image of a bicycle she made.

“I am really pleased to say that we have surpassed our goal at raising the money,” said Glidden.

The amount she has raised will be unveiled Friday at the fundraiser’s closing ceremony in Moncton.

“My message would be to other people going through treatment right now would be to just take one day at a time and stay positive,” said Glidden.

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