Mike Kreuger is working out, but not for the same reasons that most do. He’s not doing it merely to improve his personal health, or to get into shape for beach season.
He’s doing it for a cause, one that hits close to home.
The 47-year-old Vernon resident is gearing up for The Ride to Conquer Cancer, a two-day, 200-kilometre bike ride in support of the BC Cancer Foundation. Now in its 11th year, The Ride, presented by Wheaton Precious Metals, has raised more than $96 million for the foundation to date. With events also in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec it is Canada’s biggest peer-to-peer fundraiser.
For Kreuger, the cancer research fundraiser is personal. Six months ago his wife Meghan was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The news was a complete blindside with Meghan being just 35.
“What really hit me the hardest is (thinking) there’s literally nothing I can do about it,” he said.
Beset by this feeling of helplessness, the ride presented a way for Kreuger to get off the sidelines.
“Being able to fundraise was a way that I could participate in Meghan’s journey and feel that I’m doing something to prevent this from happening to our daughter Maddison.”
In preparation for The Ride—kicking off Aug. 24 in Vancouver—Kreuger has been hitting the mountain bike once a week and the road bike twice a week. He’s been running two times weekly on top of that, and on those occasions, he has a training partner, his six-year-old daughter Maddison.
“I’ll go for runs down the rail trail and she’ll ride her mountain bike beside me,” Kreuger explained.
As a pace-setter, she keeps her father pushing. “I run at about 10 to 11 km an hour and she bikes at about 12 to 13, so it’s hard for me to keep up,” Kreuger laughed.
The Ride to Conquer Cancer hasn’t even begun yet and already Kreuger’s donation site at conquercancer.ca has raised more than $22,500.
“I’ve been overwhelmed with the support,” said Kreuger, who has now raised 91 per cent of his goal of $25,000
He and Meghan previously lived in Vancouver and Montreal before moving to Vernon, and Kreuger says he’s been in awe of their current small-town community.
“The outpouring of support we’ve received in Vernon here has just been spectacular,” he said.
“We can’t even put anything into our freezers because so many people have dropped by and given us ready-made meals.”
Beyond the money raised, training for the ride led Kreuger to improve his health through regular exercise and impart lessons to his daughter Maddison.
“Exercise is about more than just fun; it’s important. So it’s been good to be able to use that as a catalyst to speak to our daughter as well.”
The Vancouver ride is the last of four that will have taken place this year, with Toronto and Montreal having held rides in June and July, and another ride taking place earlier this month in Alberta.
Facilitated by CauseForce, a peer-to-peer fundraising agency, The Ride to Conquer Cancer has raised more than $460 million in support of cancer research from events across North America and Australia in its 11-year history.
Register for The Ride at conquercancer.ca