Gordie Simonds

Gordie Simonds

Team Rupert tackling 200K trip to battle cancer

Team Prince Rupert is training to ride 200km this summer in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.



There can be positive distractions.

Training and raising funds to ride 200 kilometres on a bike from Vancouver to Seattle this summer may be Francis Wolfe’s distraction from his battle with bladder cancer and his pending surgery in April.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer is a two-day cycling event to raise money for cancer research, education and care. Events are held in four provinces, including B.C. where funds are directed toward the BC Cancer Foundation.

“Back in 2007, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. In 2009, I happened to be watching TV and they were talking about the first Ride for Cancer and I thought, ‘I used to ride a bike when I was a kid, I can do that’,”  Wolfe said.

The 66-year-old has been in the ride every year since 2010, even in his fourth diagnosis with bladder cancer. He also rides for his son, who had lymphoma and was declared cancer-free six months ago, and he rides for his brother, who survived colon cancer, and father, who had skin cancer.

Wolfe convinced his friend, Gordie Simonds, to join him in that first ride in 2010 only six months after his friend’s esophagus was replaced due to cancer.  With that partnership, Team Prince Rupert was born, and it has been growing annually.

This year, the team hopes to include at least 10 or more riders. Keith Lambourne will be joining his brother-in-law Simonds, along with his wife Susan, for the first time. The couple usually support Simonds through donations, but they wanted to do more this time around.

“Susie said, ‘Well, why don’t we ride with him?’ Once that sentence was in the universe, try backing off of it. We’re in our early 50s and Gordie’s going to be 70 this year. If he can do it, we can bloody do it,” Lambourne said.

The training has begun. For the other seasoned members of the team, training goes all-year-round. The Lambournes are starting off with indoor training.

“I can hardly walk,” he said.

In March, the ride promotes the Team Up Challenge, to increase riders on the team. The Prince Rupert Team is currently recruiting rides and anyone can sign up — even with little or no experience — just look at the rookie Lambournes for inspiration.

The ride starts in Vancouver on Aug. 27 and ends in Seattle the next day. Each ride has seen approximately 2,500 to 3,000 riders in the past when Wolfe and the Prince Rupert team have participated.

The halfway point is Mount Vernon, where 1,500 two-man tents are set up for riders. Cancer survivors have a flag on their bike and they receive shouts of support along their journey.

“The biggest thing is going over the finish line. It’s emotional. A lot of people that we’ve all lost and we’re still cancer survivors,” Wolfe said.

Not everyone on the team has been personally diagnosed with cancer. Steve Weir will be riding for his third year in a row. He joined in honour of his brother and father, both of whom died of cancer, and for his son who survived cancer.

“I’ve seen the benefits of the research dollars. He wouldn’t have survived 20 years ago and he is cured,” Weir said. “That’s why I’m here. To raise money for research and education. If there was better education his cancer wouldn’t have progressed as far.”

Each member has to raise at minimum of $2,500 to participate in the ride. They are asking for $250 from community businesses to place a logo on their shirts. They are also collecting bottles to help offset some of the travel costs.

For more information on Team Prince Rupert contact Francis Wolfe at 250-627-1838.

Just Posted

Visitors to a pop-up temporary aquarium in Prince Rupert will have the chance to see marine ecology from July 21 to Aug. 15, like this viewer watching sea anemones at the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert pop-up aquarium will bring sea level to eye level in July

A permanent peak to reef ecology centre is in the planning stages by North Coast Ecology Society

Prince Rupert’s Ellen Wright and Graeme Dickens jam out during filming the two Ring System Studio concerts to be broadcast on television during June. (Photo: supplied, H. Cox)
Ring System Studio sounds on television

Two concerts by the Prince Rupert music school will be broadcast in June

Commerical marijuana grow ops that are budding up in Prince Rupert’s downtown core are legal and out of the city’s jurisdiction, Mayor Lee Brain said, on June 14. (Photo:supplied/K-J Millar)
Prince Rupert downtown’s pretty dope

Marijuana operations grow in the Prince Rupert city core

Unionized longshore and port workers gather along Highway 16 on June 15 not crossing the picket line where Prince Rupert Solidarity Movement group protests the docking and unloading of the JPO Volans, a ship with Israeli designed technology and equipment. (Photo: K-J Millar/the Northern View)
Prince Rupert Solidarity Group pickets at port in protest

Demonstrations against the container ship JPO Volans lead into the second day to dissuade docking

BC Ferries has announced the welcoming back onboard of recreational travellers on June 15 after the provincial travel restrictions were lifted. (Courtesy of BC Ferries)
BC Ferries welcomes back recreational passengers

The ferries corp will relax mask-wearing in outdoor spaces

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read