Julie Grant was only nine-years-old when she lost her father to brain cancer and, to this day, the memories she has of him remain as special and sacred as ever.
“I remember his smile,” she said, “even as a child I remember him smiling.”
Grant, who is due to deliver her first child March 14, brushes away the tears as she acknowledges the fact her father will not get to see this beloved grandchild.
The pain of losing a loved one to cancer has intensified Grant’s desire to do her part to help in the fight against the dreaded disease.
Last year she joined forces with Coreen Spencer, also of Sylvan Lake, to take part in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. Spencer, who had participated in the ride the year before, also had personal reasons to join in the fight against cancer.
Spencer’s best friend died of cancer in 2012.
On June 22 and 23 the ladies, along with eight other riders, will form a team which will participate in the grueling ride through the foothills of Alberta.
The 230K two-day bike ride begins in Calgary and continues west into the rocky, hilly and sometimes treacherous terrain of the foothills.
Grant said she is looking forward to this year’s ride, despite the fact last year’s challenge was extremely difficult with adverse weather conditions.
“We had horrible weather. It poured both days. At one point the road was even washed out. It was rough.”
Grant said 1,800 riders participated in the event and the riders who were cancer survivors were identified with yellow flags on their bikes.
“It was very moving; very fulfilling and inspirational,” she said. “You couldn’t ever think about quitting when you saw that.”
This year, Grant and Spencer along with their friend and fellow organizer Nova Barrow have joined forces with Dwayne Gauthier, owner and chef of Cities Gastro Pub in Sylvan Lake to raise funds and create awareness about the Enbridge Ride.
The fundraising event, The Ride of Your Life, is to be held Feb. 24 at the Cities Gastro Pub. The event is to include a four course meal, entertainment by folk and contemporary musicians, Erin Glover and Kyle Hansen, door prizes, a silent auction and a photo booth. All proceeds are to go to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
The master of ceremonies for the evening is Greg Shannon of KG Country Mornings.
“It promises to be a great evening spent with friends and family with lots of music, laughter and great times while supporting a worthy cause,” said Grant.
The money raised from the Enbridge Rider to Conquer Cancer is to go towards the Tom Baler Cancer Centre in Calgary, the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton and 15 other cancer centres in Alberta. Funds are to help fund breakthrough research, innovative treatments and critical services for those in need.