Hope’s Wheeled Wild Women hit the road for cancer research

Hope’s Wheeled Wild Women hit the road for cancer research

Group of friends ready for the 200-km bike trek that ends in Hope

Hope’s Wheeled Wild Women know that cancer affects us all.

The group began with 10 members who bonded over kayaking, and were known just as the Wild Women. Over the course of 20 years, two of those original members have died from cancer, and another is a survivor. Even more have lost family members and close friends to different cancers.

But they haven’t let their losses defeat them. Last year, when they found out that the Ride To Conquer Cancer was going to change course and come to Hope as a final stop, they knew they needed to join the event. It had always ended in Seattle, and this was the perfect opportunity to support a local ride.

So, several of the women went to an open house hosted by ride organizers and AdvantageHOPE, of which Tammy Shields was the executive director at the time. Even in planning the event, Shields had never considered joining the event. She was just excited to bring such a large event to town, and share the community with others. The event can bring up to six or seven thousand people, including riders, volunteers and support teams.

“I thought, ‘This is huge!’” Shields says.

But it didn’t take long for Shields to ‘click’ with the Wild Women. They added “Wheeled” to their name, and easily co-erced Shields to join them. They took her under their collective wing and, starting with spin classes, Shields quickly became a cyclist.

Unfortunately, last year’s forest fires and the ensuing smoke caused a change in plans that kept the ride from arriving here. But this year, it’s looking very positive that it can go ahead as originally planned, starting in Cloverdale on Aug. 24 and reaching Hope on Aug. 25.

The whole idea of the Ride to Conquer Cancer also had a very personal meaning for Shields as she worked on both organizing and training for the ride. Her father became ill, and passed away due to cancer in 2017.

Once the 2018 ride arrived, she realized how many riders have been affected by cancer. Many ride for family members, spouses, children, and friends. Others are survivors themselves and can be identified by the yellow flags on their bikes. Some survivors also choose not to identify themselves.

“It was an amazing experience on many levels,” Shields says. “It just touches you in so many ways. And it levels the playing field. You realize you are all there and united in the fight to conquer cancer.”

There are people who line the route and hold signs, thanking them for their efforts. And the thanks are well-earned. Over the past 10 years, Ride to Conquer Cancer has raised more than $96 million toward research, and that funding has resulted in research that has improved the chances of cancer patients around the province. Funds from the ride have supported more than 47 projects, investigating more than 50 different cancer types. Achievements includes enhanced brain cancer care, advanced immunotherapy treatment development, and the world’s largest breast cancer study, learning how to match genomic mutations in the tumours with known or new combinations of therapies.

While the research couldn’t save Shield’s father, she is sure that advancements prolonged his life and made his treatment easier than it would have been in the past.

“It definitely eased his suffering and gave him more time,” she says.

She thought about all of that and more while on last year’s ride, and pushed through the tough parts by thinking about her father and others who have died from cancer. She also kept a Melissa Ethridge song in her head, I Can’t Quit, to keep her going.

And she’s preparing once again, along with her team. She’s completed a half marathon this year, and summited the Allison Pass. If you can do a summit and ride 100 km in a day, she says, you can call yourself a cyclist and you can survive the 200 km Ride to Conquer Cancer.

Riders not only have to condition themselves for the ride, they need to step up to the financial plate. The ride is all about fundraising, and to participate, a rider has to contribute $2,500.

“That’s the whole point of it,” she says. “There is breakthrough research happening because of this ride.”

It’s helped change the face of cancer care in the province, putting the BC Cancer Agency at the top of the list in cancer research and care in the world. In the evening of the first night, riders learn more about the research through speakers who tell them about where the money is going.

To follow along with the Wheeled Wild Women, or learn more about their story as a team, visit them at www.conquercancer.ca.

Just Posted

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

.
Fraser Health monitors long-term care vaccination rates amid local COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 transmission has largely been on the decline in Agassiz-Harrison

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema, a member of the Canadian national women’s soccer squad.
Another scoreless draw for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canadian national women’s soccer squad

Canada played Brazil to a 0-0 tie days after doing the same in a friendly against the Czech Republic

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

The cannabis dispensary store, located at 1024 Clark Drive in East Vancouver. (Instagram/Budwayonclark)
Vancouver pot shop owner ordered to pay $40K for copying Subway

Store’s mascot is a red-eyed, cannabis-filled smoking sandwich

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

A letter from a senior RCMP officer in Langley said Mounties who attended a mayor’s gala in January of 2020 used their own money. Controversy over the event has dogged mayor Val van den Broek (R) and resulted in the reassignment of Langley RCMP Supt. Murray Power (L). (file)
Langley RCMP officers used ‘own money’ to attend mayor’s gala, senior officer says

‘I would not want there to be a belief that the police officers had done something untoward’

Most Read