A B.C. man who lost his son to cancer is going virtual with his herculean two-wheeled charity challenge.
Stephen Mohan had been planning to compete in the grueling Tour Divide, a 4,400 kilometre bike race from Banff to the Mexican border, all while raising money for the Canuck Place Children’s Hospital.
Mohan’s son Jasper died of a brain tumour seven years ago at age 15.
The race was scheduled to start Friday, Jasper’s birthday, but the COVID-19 pandemic — and the closed borders that came with it — derailed those plans.
“I was counting on finishing it in 20 days or less,” Mohan told Global News.
“I was going to take (Jasper) along for the ride… on the forks of my bike I have his name and some of the other kids we met in treatment who didn’t make it.”
Mohan said his experience with Canuck Place has driven home how important the facility is to families.
He credits the hospice — and its staff — with easing his son’s suffering in his final days.
“It was such a special moment,” said Mohan of his son’s passing. “I cant imagine it happening any other place.”
Canuck Place provides pediatric palliative care for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, at no cost.
The facility employs doctors and nurses, counsellors and therapists, and services ranging from pain management to music and recreational therapy.
“We have over 8,18 children and families on our program from across B.C. and Yukon and we are the palliative care provider for this province,” said Canuck Place spokesperson Debbie Butt.
Onward we go!
During Jasper’s treatment, the family’s rallying cry was “Onward we go!”
With that in mind, Mohan said he wasn’t about to let a little global pandemic get in the way of the fundraiser.
Instead, he’s turned to the internet, where he’s inviting others to ride along — on a stationary bike, or in their community — and donate for every kilometre they log.
“Folks can hop on their bikes at home, ride around their neighbourhood, go for a longer ride,” he said.
Mohan is tracking the distance that he and donors are riding on a virtual map, and, hoping to lay down that 4,400 kilometres.
If you want to be a part of the event, or just to donate to Canuck Place, you can do so here.