Local man makes lifetime vow to help conquer cancer
By: Amy Crofts
| Posted: Saturday, Feb 01, 2014 06:00 am
World Cancer Day (Feb. 4)
The Alberta Cancer Foundation will be launching its first public awareness campaign.
An event will be held on Feb. 4 at 1 p.m. at Edmonton City Hall. You can also join the discussion on Twitter @albertacancer, hashtag #43AB or Facebook (www.facebook.com/albertacancerfoundation)
With a pirate hat perched on his head, Ken Lane smiles for a photo. His friends call him the “pirate” for his love of sailing.
These same friends named themselves the “Pirates of the North Saskatchewan” and over the last four years have pedalled nearly 1,000 kilometres around the Canadian Rockies in his memory.
Lane was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2010. He died last year.
“Kenny would always go out of his way to dress for the occasion or do whatever it took to get a smile on your face,” reminisced John Feniak, Lane’s friend of nearly a decade.
Feniak as well as another friend, Lloyd LaRone, will participate in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer for the fifth time this summer in Lane’s memory.
“We vowed to continue this because unfortunately it seems that every time one person passes away from cancer there are numerous others to take their place,” said Feniak.
The two-day cycling event held every August benefits the Alberta Cancer Foundation. Funds raised by each rider directly support patients, their families and cancer research at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary and 15 cancer centres throughout the province.
Last year more than 1,600 riders participated in the event, riding 200 kilometres from Calgary to Okotoks and back.
Feniak, a resident of St. Albert and local business owner, said being part of the sea of riders is like no other long distance cycling event or gran fondo he’s been a part of.
“It’s an extremely emotional ride,” he said, noting many riders themselves are survivors of cancer. Others have a photo of a lost loved one pinned to their jersey.
“Everybody is wearing their emotions on their sleeve and everyone has a story.”
One ride in particular has stuck with the 61-year-old.
“One year we woke up in Longview and the temperature was 2 C with a heavy wind and drizzle and we a 100 plus kilometres ahead of us,” said Feniak, “But not one person out there was complaining about the weather … because people with cancer do this every day.”
“It’s a ride that brings people to their best.”
Feniak estimates his team, the Pirates of the North Saskatchewan, have raised at least $50,000 over the last four years. They are already fundraising for the next ride starting August 9.
“My belief is that small businesses and corporations have to support these causes,” remarked Feniak. “Society supports our businesses and it’s an unwritten obligation to give back to society.”
Feniak said he plans to be cycling until the very end.
“(Lloyd and I) are going to do everything we can to maintain and keep this team going … even when we’re 85 or 90 we’ll get someone to put us on our trikes and push us.”
Over the last five years, The Enbridge Ride To Conquer Cancer has raised more than $38.3 million for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
If you would like to join and/or donate to the Pirates of the North Saskatchewan, visit http://bit.ly/1em2BvV.