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 Alberta 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 captain, Matthew Miller has been with the Foundation since 2018 and is the development assistant at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary. He is the first point of contact for donors, grateful patients, bereaved family members, cancer care staff, volunteers, and the general public.
In the fall of 2014, Matthew was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. What proceeded was 6 months of gruelling chemotherapy. “It was the most difficult experience of my young life so far. I would be sick for 4-5 days after each treatment and by the time I started to feel more like myself, I would have to go back to Tom Baker and receive another round. The side effects of chemo are too numerous to count and I experience long term side effects to this day. As challenging as my cancer treatment was, I’m currently three and a half years in remission with yearly checkups,” says Matthew.
A year later, after Matthew had just completed his cancer treatment, a group of his friends took part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer in his honour. They formed team “Matty Ice” and raised over $10,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. Matthew was incredibly moved and humbled by this and decided to sign up for his first Ride in 2016.
When Matthew first took part in the Ride, he couldn’t help but see the similarities between the challenge of overcoming the 200-km ride and conquering his cancer.
“For me, going through the Ride felt almost similar to my cancer journey. I was able to personally see the similarities between experiencing cancer and physically doing the ride, the mental fortitude and the time it takes. Obviously, it’s a microcosm, it’s so small in comparison to chemo but it can give a person who hasn’t experienced it an insight. Like when you’re cycling up a hill and your knees just want to scream but you have to keep going. It’s the same thing with cancer, you have to keep going because you don’t have a lot of options. When I did the ride for the first time I didn’t think I could actually finish it, I had a lot of self-doubts, and similarly, when I was in treatment I would sometimes think that I wouldn’t be able to pull through. But I was able to overcome it and the sense of jubilation and triumph you feel when you’re done is worth pushing through. “
Today, Matt is gearing up for his third year cycling at the Ride and is excited to cross the finish line again, this time with his Alberta Cancer Foundation teammates.
“The biggest reason why I ride is because I shouldn’t be the only lucky one. I have friends with cancer, I have lost people to cancer and I can’t just stand by and do nothing. I ride because I know that there is still a lot of work to do but I also know that we are on the precipice of research, programs and support. Having gone through cancer myself, and knowing that others continue to go through it, I have a sense of obligation to help,”
– Matthew Miller
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 $23,000. You can help them reach their $25,000 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.