A former Cops for Cancer Tour de North rider continues to raise funds for paediatric cancer research.
Les Nylen traded in his bicycle for a motorcycle on Monday, May 23, as he and other motorcyclists travelled from McLeese Lake to Quesnel, where a barbecue and raffle was held at the Canadian Tire parking lot.
“From what I understand, everyone had a good time, which we’re about,” he said.
This marked the eighth year of the Kristen Nylen Memorial Ride supporting the Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de North.
It started when Nylen was a community rider with the 800-kilometer cycle tour in memory of his daughter.
Kristen was 13-years-old when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour that claimed her eyesight and ultimately her life in 2014 at the age of 27.
“This was how I started to raise money for my bicycle ride when I was doing it, and I just decided to keep it going and continue to donate the money to the same cause, so that’s what we’ve done,” Nylen said.
Nylen completed both Tour de North routes, including Prince George to Prince Rupert and Dawson Creek to Williams Lake, in 2015 and 2016.
He recalled his first Cops for Cancer ride when they were cycling 200-kilometers on a rainy day.
“There was water all over the road, and people were getting flat tires because they had been doing some seal coating on this one area around Bear Lake,” he said.
“I just remember thinking if I wanted to really not be cold and wet, I could say I’m done. I could get in the vehicle, and that’d be the end of it, but the kids are battling cancer and other illnesses. They haven’t got that choice; they can’t say I’m done and walk away from it. It’s things like that that make you think of how fortunate you are to be able to do these things.”
Although Nylen admits his days of bicycling hundreds of kilometres are likely over as he is not as young as he used to be and had open heart surgery a few years ago, he said he wants to continue fundraising and help Cops for Cancer in any way he can.
On Victoria Day, the Kristen Nylen Memorial Ride raised nearly $950.
Nylen thanked Canadian Tire and his family and friends, including Chris and Chantell Sutton, and volunteers who helped make the day possible.
The Quesnel RCMP also escorted the 32 motorcyclists through the last few kilometers into Quesnel.
“One thing I do is I always thank her at the end of the ride for giving me the strength for being a better person,” Nylen said of his daughter.
“We just do what we can to try and make a difference, and it’s all for a good cause—that’s what it’s about.”
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