Michael Hill (right) of Team Nova participates in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

Michael Hill (right) of Team Nova participates in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

Heading cancer off at the curb

Fundraising mission raises thousands for B.C. Cancer Foundation

A team of riders has gone from raising nothing to more than $40,000 last year.

After noticing more and more issues with cancer around him, Michael Hill decided he wanted to make himself healthier and find a way to give back.

His answer? The Ride to Conquer Cancer, presented by Silver Wheaton and benefiting the B.C. Cancer Foundation, which Hill will be riding Aug. 27 and 28.

“I could sit at home on my couch and watch T.V. or I could go for a ride with teammates on Saturdays and go out and do this,” he said. “The biggest thing was learning more about this disease and being able to help.”

Hill and 14 fellow cyclists and five volunteers represent Team Nova in the two-day ride of approximately 235 kilometres.

The team raises funds through various events. Hill recently participated in a fundraiser run on Bear Mountain and will be selling 50/50 tickets at the Victoria HarbourCats game on Aug. 6.

He and his wife are also planning a beer and burger night in Langford.

Hill started cycling the same year he began participating in the ride, going from raising very little to more than $40,000 as a team in 2015. This year the team’s goal is to again ensure every cyclist raises more than $2,500 with the help of their volunteers.

“Quite often people ask if the weather has not been co-operative on the rides … Well, the people who get chemo or radiation, they don’t have an option,” he said. “I’d do this whether it is raining or snowing. It makes me feel good when I’m out there.”

In B.C., the ride has raised more than $70 million since 2009, making it one of B.C.’s largest cycling fundraisers. All funds raised stay local, such as to the B.C. Cancer Agency for research, treatment, education and care. Across Canada it has raised more than $325 million.

“One of the best parts is when we get the grand total on the Saturday morning before we ride and they announce what we have raised for the year,” Hill said.

“Just hearing that grand total and going to the B.C. Cancer Agency on tours and seeing the equipment that has been purchased through our efforts (is amazing).”

With plans to continue his cycling efforts, Hill has only one major goal remaining.

“Realistic or not, (my goal) is to see this come to an end. I have friends who are waiting to see if (cancer) is going to come back, I have friends who know it has come back and some friends that I’ve lost because of it,” he said. “If I can help make that change, I will do what it takes.”

To support Hill and his team in their fundraising efforts, email him at mustangm@shaw.ca

alim@goldstreamgazette.com