This is Jessica Morgan’s fifth time riding in the annual Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. (Photo contibuted)

Vernon resident finds a new reason to participate in the 10th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer

The Ride to Conquer Cancer honours the 10th anniversary of record-setting fundraising for cancer research and care.

On Aug. 25 and 26, the 10th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer presented by Wheaton Precious Metals benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation takes place.

For the last nine years, The Ride has raised over $85 million for the BC Cancer Foundation and is BC’s largest peer-to-peer cycling fundraiser.

Vernon’s Jess Morgan is a fifth-time Rider who first joined The Ride back in 2012. Originally having participated as a way to stay active and healthy, she was recently confronted with a new, more personal, reason to ride.

In November 2017, Morgan’s father was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

“Once you get over the shock, you become a worker bee and you find out everything there is to know about it,” she said.

With a background in science, Jess began researching about this cancer and while she was able to discover that prostate cancer had a greater survival rate, she was still terrified of losing her father.

She plans to enter the ride with a new perspective. She now has a personal connection but she said that visiting the Cancer Agency in Kelowna with her father and witnessing the work that is being done by the BC Cancer Foundation has made her more motivated than ever.

“The cancer clinic in Kelowna is amazing. People obviously aren’t there under the best circumstances, but everybody is friendly and the care and treatments are top of the line,” said Morgan. “It’s really amazing because they’re really focused on patient care and comfort. So you get in there and within ten minutes, someone’s serving you coffee and tea and they’re all volunteers and that all comes from the funds from events like this which is really nice.”

Related: Vernon’s Byrnes cycling for cancer

Related: Kelowna family rallies support for prostate cancer

Related: Cancer survivors determined to make a difference

Since experiencing firsthand the effects of fundraising, Jess now sees just how revolutionary and impactful funding can contribute towards cancer research today. She said she knows she is helping make a difference and that her father’s cancer journey has led her to be an advocate for raising funds towards cancer research.

“You keep people in your mind for the entire ride. You can get up those hills once you think about what someone undergoing treatment is going through,” she added. “But, the kilometers aren’t the hardest part, the fundraising is.”

Every rider must raise a minimum of $2,500 in order to participate and for the Ride to continue making crucial impacts on cancer research and care at BC Cancer. Each rider chooses where their funds go within the foundation. This year, Morgan has chosen to contribute her funds to the critical needs fund.

This year, Morgan is aiming to ride under ambassador status for the first time. This means she must raise a minimum of $5,000. She still has a few hundred left to raise. She is focusing on making it to her goal through her fundraising efforts but said that next year, she hopes to get a team together.

“Everyone knows someone who’s had cancer,” she concludes. ” This is a great way to help out in some way. I bike to stay healthy but no one likes cancer.”

Related: High school teams play for cancer

Related: Cyclist tackles cancer

Related: Childhood cancer hits home, again

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