“Her words to me were ‘you need to ride for me,’”said Coreen Spencer, a Sylvan Lake resident who was debating riding again in the Alberta Ride to Conquer Cancer before her best friend was diagnosed with cancer five years ago.
Following fundraising and riding in 2016 event, Spencer has completed six Ride To Conquer Cancer races and raised nearly $42,000 for vital cancer research and patient care. The wish to try out the ride came from a simple television advertisement six years ago.
“The first year, I saw an ad on TV and I thought I would like to volunteer for it,” she said. “It seemed like a great idea, then I saw the ad and thought maybe I should do more than volunteer. It sounded like something I needed to do.”
After committing to the ride initially, Spencer realized she needed to raise $2,500 to take part – an amount she found daunting.
“I went to an orientation and previous racers told me ‘you will have no trouble raising the money’ and I really didn’t,” she said, adding that the support of her husband and the community of Sylvan Lake made raising the money simple.
After completing the first race, Spencer’s sense of accomplishment after having completed the 230 km ride through the Albertan foothills began to lead her away from riding in the race again, however after hearing her friend was diagnosed – the choice was simple.
“That was it. I signed up to ride again,” she said. “I ride for her every year and as time goes on you meet more people and ride for them.”
Spencer said that the connections she has made on the ride and through her experiences with cancer she has seen the difference fundraising makes first hand.
“After having a tour of the new facility in Red Deer (The Central Alberta Cancer Centre) – we are doing amazing things,” she said. “People who have recovered have said to me ‘if it wasn’t for all the fundraising, they know they wouldn’t have the care they have been given’.” Spencer is thankful for the improvement of cancer patient care as her husband and brother have both recently battled the disease and were treated successfully.
“That tells me we are doing the right thing,” she said. “It is so worth while.”
If you would like more information on the Ride to Conquer Cancer, you can visit conquercancer.ca.
According to Spencer, if you choose to do the ride, “the people you connect with during the ride really bolsters you.”