Saturday was emotional as Ride2Survive cyclists visited Abreast with FORT-itude paddlers in Fort Langley.
More than 50 cyclists about to take part in Ride2Survive paid a visit to FORT-itude (a dragon boat crew made up entirely of breast cancer survivors) to honour one of its members.
Ride2Survive is a one-day, 400-kilometre cycling event from Kelowna to Delta to raise funds for cancer research for the Canadian Cancer Society.
The Ride2Survive participants did ‘ride by’ during their 100 km training ride, in final preparation for their fundraising journey this coming Saturday, June 18.
The cyclists organized the ‘ride by’ for FORT-itude paddler Karen Salloch, who recently turned 43.
Salloch was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 39 and last year started having breathing problems during practices, shared FORT-itude coach Juanita Peglar.
In the fall it was discovered that her cancer had spread to her brain, lungs, spine, and liver.
“She was treated aggressively over the winter and is doing quite well right now,” Peglar said, about Salloch. “She was able to get back in the boat with us in March to paddle.”
Salloch’s sister knows one of the cyclists of the Ride2Survive and mentioned her story, “so they decided to ‘adopt’ Karen,” Peglar said.
During their 100 km ride on Saturday, they stopped to present Karen with a Ride2Survive bracelet, as well as flowers and a silver daffodil pin, the symbol of the Canadian Cancer Society.
Peglar said the moment by was very emotional for the FORT-itude members and Salloch’s family.
“Karen’s husband and two young sons, ages five and seven, were in attendance as were Karen’s sister and family and aunt and uncle,” Peglar said.
As far as FORT-itude’s next adventure, the team is staying close to home this year.
Next weekend we are attending the two-day Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival (previously called the Rio Tinto Alcan Festival) before heading to Nanaimo the weekend of July 8 to 10.
As well, members of the FORT-itude team as well as members from all of the Abreast In A Boat teams are taking part in an exhibition race against a group of prostate cancer survivors, a team named ‘Butts in a Boat,’ this Friday June 17, at Dragon Zone in Vancouver (start time is 6:30 p.m.)
“There has never been a prostate cancer survivor team so we are hoping that we can inspire these men to help raise awareness about prostate cancer like Abreast In A Boat did for breast cancer 21 years ago,” Peglar said.