Since January, Chris Fedoruk of Quesnel has been working hard to get his cycling legs in shape and to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Why? Because as a community rider with this year’s Cops for Cancer Tour de North, Fedoruk must raise thousands of dollars and be able to ride 850 kilometres over seven days
Fedoruk is a technology specialist at Integris Credit Union, and on Saturday morning (July 27), he and his co-workers held a fundraising yard sale in the credit union’s parking lot to help get him closer to his fundraising goal.
Fedoruk must raise a minimum of $6,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.
“I’d really like to blow that out of the water,” he said.
So far, he has been raising money through a bake sale, three raffle basket draws, a pancake breakfast and hot dog sales at Billy Barker Days and Saturday’s yard sale. Fedoruk is working on holding a Jail and Bail fundraiser as well, which is tentatively scheduled for the end of August. He is also selling 50/50 tickets at Integris until Sept. 13.
So far, Fedoruk has raised more than $1,700, and he hopes the Jail and Bail event he is planning will be the main push to help him reach his goal.
This is Fedoruk’s first time doing the Tour de North, an annual fundraising and awareness ride that sees community riders, RCMP officers and other emergency services personnel from across northern B.C. ride 850 kilometres from Dawson Creek to Williams Lake.
Fedoruk says he was motivated to apply for the team because of the physical challenge and the mental challenge, but mostly because of what the ride is all about.
“Most of all, all of the money that is raised goes towards pediatric cancer research, and — this is a big part of it — for children in B.C. with cancer, it gives them the opportunity to go to Camp Goodtimes in Maple Ridge, and then they can forget about all the struggles they are going through — and it helps their families with the burden,” he said.
Fedoruk applied for the team in January and found out he had been selected at the end of February.
In January, he started spin cycle training daily for three months, and then when he got his bike, he started riding outdoors, doing short rides, medium rides and long rides, which are anywhere from 75 kilometres up.
“[There has been] lots of hill training, between Pinnacles hill, Bouchie Lake, Plywood hill, Dragon Lake hill, the airport hill — every direction I go is a hill,” he said with a laugh. “But there are actual dedicated hill days where I spend anywhere from a half an hour to an hour just going up and down the hills. It just conditions the legs and the lungs. Lots of riding, getting a lot of time in the saddle.”
For June, July and August, team members must do at least one long-distance ride.
In June, Fedoruk joined a team of RCMP officers and alumni riders from Quesnel and Prince George to do a 100-kilometre ride to Nazko school.
Fedoruk was heading out on a 120-kilometre solo ride from Quesnel to Williams Lake Saturday following the fundraising yard sale.
In August, he is planning to ride to Barkerville and back, which he figures will be about 200 kilometres in total.
When asked how the experience has been so far, Fedoruk says it has been stressful and exciting.
“But every time I think of what I’m doing it for, it just pushes me that much harder,” he said. “A lot of planning, a lot of time given. Volunteer hours alone, excluding the riding, is probably 48 hours just up to last weekend. It’s a big deal. Trying to get the staff involved, trying to get everything organized and making sure I have assistance to pull it off. I’m looking forward to the ride today and what the next six weeks is going to unfold.”
Fedoruk didn’t cycle very much before he joined the Cops for Cancer team.
“The longest ride I ever did before was 80 kilometres,” he said. “I didn’t do nearly the training I did for this ride.”
This year’s ride is 850 kilometres over seven days from Sept. 17 to 23. The tour will ride through Quesnel Sept. 22, and riders will stay here overnight, then leave Sept. 23 and head to Williams Lake for the finale.
The route is from Dawson Creek to Fort St. John and then south to Williams Lake, with community awareness events along the way.
“It’s all community awareness,” said Fedoruk. “In every community, we stop at a school or a community centre. We have a stop for about an hour and then we hit the road again. It’s about raising awareness and the funds.”
The goal for the Cops for Cancer Tour de North this year is to raise $300,000.
“And we only have 13 riders this year, compared to 32 last year,” said Fedoruk. “Thirteen is a nice size, but it just means more challenge for fundraising, and I, as a community rider, have to raise $6,000. The RCMP and emergency services personnel are $3,000, so I have a lot of pressure on me to up my game here and to make sure I’m worthy of the ride.”
Fedoruk says getting that first 100-kilometre ride under his belt was a big relief.
“When we did the Nazko ride, because I hadn’t done a 100-kilometre ride yet, there were seven of us, and I was nervous because I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep up with everybody who has been riding for that’s what they do,” he said. “I was told by the organizer of the Cops for Cancer that she doesn’t have anything to worry about, that I can keep up with the crew just fine.”
Cops for Cancer is a program launched in partnership between first responders across the country and the Canadian Cancer Society to support children and families affected by childhood cancer.
Since 1997, the program has raised more than $42 million to fund life-saving pediatric cancer research and support programs. As one of the largest funders of pediatric cancer research in Canada, it has contributed to pediatric cancer survival rates, which have increased from 71 per cent in the 1980s to more than 83 per cent today, according to the Cops for Cancer website.
Donations made to the Canadian Cancer Society through Cops for Cancer are used to fund life-saving pediatric cancer research and caring support programs like Camp Goodtimes to reduce its impact.
To donate to Fedoruk’s ride, visit Integris Credit Union or donate online at http://bit.ly/C4C_TdN_ChrisF.