Why I Ride – Kimberley Brown

The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer has been running for 10 years in support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Every year, thousands of cyclists make the two-day, 200-km journey through Alberta roads as spectators cheer them on. The Ride has raised more than $74 million since its inception, in support of cancer research, clinical trials and enhanced care programs offered at the 17 cancer centres across Alberta.

This year, our fellow coworkers and members of the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s board of trustees will be riding together as team Alberta Cancer Foundation. Team member Kimberley Brown has been with the Foundation since 2016 and is the development assistant at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. She is the first point of contact for our donors, many of who are grateful patients, bereaved family members, volunteers and cancer care staff. Today she shares her story.

“I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in March 2015 at the age of 32. I was an otherwise extremely healthy individual. I was a personal trainer and was in the middle of marathon training when I received my diagnosis. I had found the lump 6 months prior but ignored it because I was “too young” and had no family history of breast cancer. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I finally went to get it checked after weeks of him asking me to do so. We had only been dating for 6 weeks at the time of my diagnosis. I still remember that day, texting him after my appointment and saying “it’s not good” and he replied with “I’m on my way” and showed up with a giant bag of mini eggs to cheer me up. If you know me and my love of chocolate, you’ll know how much this small gesture meant to me.

I gave myself that one day to feel sorry for myself. We went and got some wine and shopped away my feelings. And then it was time to get down to business. I went through multiple surgeries (5 to be exact!), chemo and radiation. The chemo I was on was part of a clinical trial that was less harsh on the body than standard chemo. It still had its unpleasant side effects and was far from “easy”, but it meant I didn’t have the compromised immune system that comes with chemo and I didn’t lose my hair. Losing one’s hair may seem like a trivial thing, but to be able to go out in public and not have people know I was sick was a gift. It was my break from cancer. I didn’t look sick and I didn’t act sick so unless I told someone, they would never know what I was going through. I continued to run and be active throughout my treatment which was very therapeutic for me.

I have personally benefited so much from events like the Ride to Conquer Cancer having been on a clinical trial myself.

I’ve seen firsthand the impact of those dollars raised. I am so grateful for the moments given to me from that clinical trial that saved my life. I’ve been able to continue doing all the things I love to do. I completed a half marathon at 3 months post chemo and again at 6 months post-chemo. I ran a full marathon in April 2017, one year after finishing treatment which I followed up with doing the 2017 Ride to Conquer Cancer that August. I got married last fall and had my dream, fairytale wedding on the west coast. All things that wouldn’t be possible without our incredible donors and ride participants who are out there fundraising to help create more moments for Albertans facing cancer. Albertans like me.

Kimberley receiving chemo treatment in 2016; Kimberley and her husband on their wedding day in 2018.

 

I am so honoured and proud to be part of the ACF ride team for a second time! The Ride is such an incredible experience. There’s so much comradery amongst riders, everyone cheering you on as you go. I’ve met some incredible people through the Ride and am grateful for the friendships that have ensued. Riding 220 km may seem difficult but it’s nothing compared to what a cancer patient will endure. This is a way that I can help give back in appreciation for the incredible care I received.

This is a way I can help make a difference for the 53 Albertans every day who will hear the words “You have cancer”. This is where I belong.”


This year, the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer will take place from August 17 to 18. Team Alberta Cancer Foundation has been working together to fundraise and train for the epic 200 km journey that is to come. Together, the team has raised over  $36,000. You can help them reach their $40,000 goal by donating to their team. Your donations will directly support patients and families at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary, the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton and 15 cancer centres throughout Alberta and move us closer to our vision of a cancer-free future. 

Support Team Alberta Cancer Foundation today.