Surrey resident Jennie Castleton will be riding for her mom when she takes part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer event this weekend.
It will be the second time she’s done so, following her mother being diagnosed with cancer nearly a decade ago.
Jennie’s mother Margaret was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2007. She has since undergone several rounds of chemo, a bone marrow transplant and has been considered “in remission” three times.
“Every year that goes by, you think it’s all ok,” said Jennie. “But last November it came back again which nobody was expecting because it was six years after her transplant. That never really happens, but it did.”
So for the second time, she’s riding for mom.
Jennie will be one of a couple thousand cyclists who will roll out from Cloverdale Fairgrounds this Saturday (Aug. 27) as part of the 200-kilometre, cross-border fundraiser for the BC Cancer Foundation.
She joked that after her first ride, she said she would never do it again.
“It was tough, it was also cold and wet which didn’t help,” Jennie elaborated. “I’m generally pretty athletic.”
She does spin classes in the winter, and riding outdoors when the weather gets better, she said. In prep for the ride, she’s ridden 1,365 kilometres so far.
She also does cross training with hiking, yoga, swimming and walking all in the mix.
“It’s two days, 100 kilometres each day,” said Jennie. “I actually feel a little more prepared this time, having don it once, so it’s easier to know what to expect.”
She’s looking forward to this weekend’s ride.
“The opening ceremonies is amazing,” Jennie said. “Then they do peoples’ stories, so it’s really inspiring and you have a few thousand people heading off at the same time.”
Naturally, doing the ride is bittersweet – for her and for mom.
“I think she’s happy that I’m doing it for her again,” said Jennie. “But I think she’s upset that I felt like I had to do it again. But they’re going to come down and see me at the finish line. It’ll be good. It’ll be emotional. Just knowing that she’s still here, that’s great.”
Just as she’s confident on her abilities during the ride, she’s confident on her mother’s ability to beat cancer once and for all.
“She’s very strong.”
The two-day Ride to Conquer Cancer event is considered B.C.’s largest cycling fundraiser, having raised more than $70 million over the past seven years. Last year, more than 2,000 cyclists took part in the event.
CLICK HERE for more event details.
-With files from Tom Zillich