by Miranda Miller, Contributor
After a 17-day, 7,000-kilometre journey, Bob Ahuja is back from his ride across Canada, for the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride.
Ahuja cycled from Vancouver to Halifax, N.S. He raised $25,000 for the Coast to Coast Sears Cancer Foundation, and was proud to report that all the money raised went directly to the kids battling cancer.
Although the cycling was a challenge, Ahuja said it was an amazing experience, and it was interesting meeting people along the journey, from fellow cyclists, to kids fighting cancer.
He felt much camaraderie with his teammates, and their time together made them a tightly knit group.
There was a wide range of cyclists, and cycling experience. On his team there were people from all walks of life, from a cancer survivor, to a pediatric oncologist.
The trip had special meaning for most. Two carried their friend Adam’s ashes with them, who was supposed to be on the ride, but had just lost his fight to cancer.
The teams visited two hospitals on their trip – BC Children’s in Vancouver, and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. Originally, Ahuja was nervous meeting the kids battling cancer, knowing that it would take an emotional toll. His team made many stops along the way, visiting children who were healthy enough to come out, and presenting them with signed jerseys. It turned out to be the most rewarding part for Ahuja.
Ahuja said the ride would not have happened without the volunteers. They drove the team’s RVs, prepared many meals, and even helped with laundry. There were volunteer bike mechanics, and registered massage therapists.
Ahuja missed 77 kilometres of the journey, due to mechanical issues and an injury, after a couple of cyclists ran into each other in a construction zone in Sudbury, Ont. Ahuja had to get his bike fixed, and rest before continuing.
Ahuja’s favourite moment was dipping his bike into the Atlantic Ocean at the end of the ride, because it felt like the beginning of something new.
He will stay involved with this organization in some capacity, whether as a cyclist or volunteer. Ahuja hopes his experience will inspire more people to get involved.
The ride took place Sept. 5-21. According to the organization’s website, the goal was to raise $1 million. They raised $756,013 with the help of 2,741 sponsors.