The staff here at Lewis MacLean have a regular Monday ritual that goes something like this:
“Hey Mia, how far did you ride your bike this weekend?”
“Oh, just a short one. About 150 K.”
(Sound of us shaking our heads in disbelief.)
“Mia” is Mia Gabrielson, the Lewis MacLean marketing guru and, well, she likes to ride her bike.
Part of it is fitness and she is definitely fit. But there’s something deeper than that at play here.
Mia is taking part in the annual Ride2Survive, the largest independent one-day fundraising event to benefit the Canadian Cancer Society. The event is set for June this year and we’re reaching out to everyone to sponsor her so she can meet her $5,000 goal. (There is a link below where you can do just that.)
This event is epic. Participants start at around 4 a.m. in Kelowna and ride about 400 km to arrive in Delta around 9:30 p.m.
We’re sore just thinking about it.
To prepare, Mia rides several times each week. Sometimes it’s just baby trips of about 50 km with a group. On weekends Mia will often do 200 km in one stretch.
Riders do about 12,000 feet of climbing during this journey so Mia regularly trains on such hills at the one up to Simon Fraser University and Cypress Mountain.
Mia does all this because she has been personally touched by cancer through numerous friends and family members. She wanted to do something to help find cures and treatments for cancer and riding seemed a good option.
“What is unique about the Ride2Survive is everything is volunteer driven,” Mia says. “That means when you donate for my ride every dollar goes to the Canadian Cancer Society. Nothing comes off the top for expenses.”
The event is an emotional one for all the riders, especially those in the yellow jerseys who are cancer survivors. On the Friday night before the ride in Kelowna, all the riders gather for what they call the “Last Supper” in a church space that’s been donated.
“Everybody shares stories about why they are involved in this,” Mia says. “It’s actually a very emotionally exhausting part of the ride. It really brings people together.”
Mia hopes the money she raises will help find cures for cancer, or fund ways to help people manage the disease better so they can live happy, productive lives.
“Finding cures is important, but it’s also about how we treat the people who have cancer; how we manage it.”
People interested in the event can go to the website at ride2survive.ca and watch the riders arrive in Delta live. Last year, as it got darker in the evening, the finishing stretch was lit up by the RCMP’s Air One helicopter. Police also provide escorts during the entire stretch of the ride to ensure the safety of the participants.
We urge everyone to support Mia in her quest. Here is the link where you can pledge her: Mia’s Ride2Survive Page