By Jaime Polmateer
A pair of charitable cyclists made a pit stop in Clearwater recently, during a cross-country adventure in support of cancer research.
Luis Nasim and Juan Manuel Alonso, both from Montreal, created the 100 Days Across Canada fundraising bicycle tour, which will have them pedal across Canada from Victoria to St. John’s Newfoundland, hopefully within the 100 day timeframe the title suggests.
Nasim and Alonso began at Mile Zero if Victoria on May 25 and were in Clearwater last Saturday, where they said the hospitality was topnotch.
“We were hosted by the folks at the Grizzly Paw Bed and Breakfast and they were fantastic with us,” said Nasim.
“Not only did they offer us a place to stay for free, but they also took us around and showed us all the waterfalls around Clearwater.”
The 100 Days Across Canada campaign is the duo’s way to raise funds for the Cedars Cancer Foundation, where the money will be put to use in prostate cancer research.
Alonso is actually being followed throughout the journey by a urologist due to his own prostate condition, which was one of the factors in deciding to kick off the initiative in the first place.
“The other reason is we have a lot of friends and family members that either have or have had prostate cancer, in fact one in seven men will get prostate cancer, so our goal is raise money for research to fight that and also create awareness for men to get themselves checked,” Nasim said.
“Women are pretty good at getting checked when they have something wrong with them, but men kind of drag their feet and wait and catching it early is paramount to getting cured and it is very curable; so that’s our message.”
The Cedars Cancer Foundation was selected to receive the funds because its innovation in clinical research, care education and supportive services in the field.
According to statistics from the Canadian Cancer Society prostate cancer is the most common form of the disease among men in Canada, and like Nasim mentioned, it will affect one in seven men in their lifetime.
The overall goal for 100 Days Across Canada is to raise $50,000 for the Cedars Cancer Foundation and at the time of the interview, funds had already reached the half way mark.
All of the money drummed up by the two cyclists will be used by the foundation under the leadership of Dr. Simon Tanguay, urologist-in-chief at the McGill University Health Centre.
Tanguay’s prostate cancer initiative looks to give the best care possible for prostate cancer patients and their families, which ensures both treatment and effective approaches are readily available.
The idea to raise the money and awareness through cycling came after the pair went on a tour of the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec, which they biked roughly 1000 km in two weeks.
“It was a successful trip and we enjoyed it so much we decided right then and there that we wanted to do something more serious and we starting planning for this trip,” said Nasim.
“We just retired, both of us, just last year; so this is what gave us the possibility and opportunity to do this because we are taking three months, or 100 days, from everything else,” Nasim said.
“It was the perfect opportunity to have the free time to do it and to have the support of our families.”
Those interested in supporting the initiative can visit www.cedars.ca or follow on Facebook, by searching 100 Days Across Canada.