Over 1300 participants took part in the event, which had them cycle 200-plus km over the weekend Saturday’s leg spanned from Repentigny to a camp set up in Trois-Rivières.
75-year-old cancer survivor Andrew Toeman has been riding in the fundraiser since his remission from melanoma six years ago.
“We started at 8:35 a.m. and rode about 110 km until we reached the checkpoint in Trois-Rivières,” Toeman told Global News after arriving at the unofficial halfway mark.
Toeman was inspired by his son’s brother-in-law, Phil, who was diagnosed with a rare form of bladder cancer as Toeman was overcoming his own battle.
He says that he’s motivated through the ride by keeping photos of his parents and two children of close friends, all of whom died of cancer, on his handlebars.
“Riding a few hours on a bike is nothing compared to what people go through during cancer treatment, with chemotherapy and that whole process.”
At least $2500 is raised by each participant for the event, which has generated more than $56 million in the province over the past decade — and over $400 million across Canada during that span.
Toeman rides on a team of 31 participants called Bikus Urachus, the eldest member of the team is Armand Cymbalista who rides the event at the age of 84-years-old.
Team captain Phil Anzarut started the team with friends after overcoming urachal cancer, a rare cancer formed in the bladder.
The team raised close to $206,000 for this year’s edition, bringing their total accumulation to over $970,000 since 2013.
The Jewish General Hospital Foundation associate director of special events Stephanie Rosa credits the event’s progression to its participants, hundreds of volunteers and even more supporters.
“Our participants show the determination we have to find a cure across the province,” said Rosa.
“We have survivors, families, doctors, nurses, technicians and volunteers. It’s an event for all ages and backgrounds.”
The event shows camaraderie and unity to the fight against cancer.
“It’s impressive to get here and see everybody wheel in to the camp throughout the afternoon,” said Toeman.
“The sense of community is tremendous.”
To register for next year’s Quebec event or to register for other rides across the country, please visit the The Ride to Conquer Cancer website.