A two-day, 230-km bike ride through the foothills left Sylvan Lake’s Coreen Spencer physically exhausted — but she knows the pain she endured along the way is nothing compared to those living with cancer.
Earlier this summer — and for the fourth time — she took part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, which began at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary on Aug. 9. and wrapped up the next day following a “gruelling” journey through the foothills.
In the process, she raised over $5,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
“For me, I just think of the people I know that have struggled with cancer,” she said. “We’re sweating, and we’re gruelling, and we’re exhausted, but it’s nothing compared to what they go through, so really, I can’t complain.”
In her four years of participation, Spencer has raised nearly $25,000 for the cause.
Her experience has allowed to her to know ahead of time how much training and planning is required to complete the ride, and she now prepares accordingly.
“There’s a lot of people that don’t do a lot of training, and it’s very, very hard for them,” she said. “If I set out to do something, I set out to do my best, and if people are going to donate money to me, I want to show how hard I’m working for it.”
Participants must raise at least $2,500 in order to compete in the ride, which Spencer first signed up for after seeing it advertised on television. In her first year, she feared not being able to meet the minimum amount required. Through hard work and determination, however, she realized it was possible after all, and more than doubled that amount.
Since then, the event — and cycling — have become two of her greatest passions.
“Once this ride came up, (I decided) I’m going to dig my bike out,” she said. “It’s just kind of snowballed from there. It’s now an addiction.”
Spencer is currently taking a break from training until January, when she’ll begin cycling indoors on a stationary unit. She’ll eventually work her way back outside, to prepare for next year’s Ride to Conquer Cancer — which she’s already signed up for.
“We so often hear the negatives, but there are so many amazing, good stories out there,” she said. “When I hear the things that are happening and the success stories, I just think we are headed in the right direction. If I didn’t feel we weren’t making a true difference, I wouldn’t be doing it.”
Donations are already being accepted for Spencer’s 2015 effort in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. To donate, visit www.conquercancer.ca and search Coreen Spencer’s name in the participant search form.