by Miranda Miller, News Contributor
Bob Ahuja, 41, is not your typical Abbotsford bus driver.
In addition to his job, he’s busy training 20 hours a week for the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride – all 7,000 kilometres of it – from Vancouver to Halifax.
Ahuja has lived in Abbotsford since he was four, and has been a bus driver for 13 years. This is not his first time riding to fight cancer. For the past four years, he has participated in the Ride to Conquer Cancer from Surrey to Seattle. This, however, is his first time in the Sears ride, and will be the farthest he has ever cycled. He’ll ride with 30 other cyclists.
Ahuja will make this long journey on a 19-pound bike, courtesy of Abbotsford’s DNC law firm. The ride begins in Vancouver on Sept. 5 and ends Sept. 21 in Halifax. He’s been training since March, and is the only participant from B.C. who is going the whole distance.
His goal is to raise $25,000 for the Coast to Coast Sears Cancer Foundation, which helps raise awareness and funds for children battling cancer.
Despite working, training and fundraising, Bob still manages to spend time with his two sons, 16 and 12, and his wife of 17 years. This balancing act “hasn’t been the easiest thing,” says Ahuja, but once he committed to ride there was no looking back.
Ahuja is anxious about being away from home, and not being there when his kids start school, but he has the support of his family, and he’s determined to persevere. This undertaking is different than his other cancer rides in that it is specifically for kids, which has a special meaning for Ahuja.
He has seen cancer on a first hand basis. In Nov. 2010, Ahuja and his family lost a cousin, 14-year-old Rohit, to cancer.
“I know this ride won’t bring him back” Ahuja says, but he’s determined to raise awareness about the deadly disease.
When pedalling those 7,000 kilometres, Ahuja says he will think about everyone who has helped him and supported him on this journey – from friends and family, Sears management and staff, to passengers on his bus, and everyone who donated money.
The cyclists will make a stop in Abbotsford at 10:45 a.m. on Sept. 5 in the Sears parking lot at 32900 South Fraser Way.
The public is welcome to show their support for the team. There will be a barbecue and a performance by singer Larissa Blenkarn. The Abbotsford Heat Street Team and mascot Hawkey will also be on site.
To learn more about the Sears National Kids Cancer ride, visit searsnationalkidscancerride.com.