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Bellerose Bikeathon rides for cancer research

530 youths aim to raise $250K

Over 500 students are riding to run down cancer this week as part of the Bellerose Bikeathon.

Some 530 Bellerose Composite students hopped on bikes at 1:30 p.m. March 6 to begin the 21st annual Bellerose Bikeathon. Established in 2004, this annual fundraiser sees virtually every student at Bellerose commit to riding stationary bikes for 48 hours to raise money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation, Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, and Kids with Cancer Society.

Bellerose assistant principal Cam Leverman told the students how he never had someone close to him affected by cancer up until last year, when he lost both his parents to lung cancer.

“You may not have anybody that’s directly affected by cancer, but you probably will soon,” he said.

Leverman encouraged the students to let their laughter and tears flow freely in the next 48 hours.

Kicking off the Bikeathon with a countdown was Kids with Cancer beneficiary and 11-year-old Everett Misenas, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at age four.

Her voice choked with emotion, Everett’s mother, Kyla Misenas, told the students how their fundraising efforts helped their family get much needed peer support through Kids with Cancer as Everett went through multiple surgeries.

“It means a lot to us. Thank you.”

In an interview, Everett said having brain cancer had been “scary,” but that Kids with Cancer had given it some upsides in the form of a trip to Galaxyland and a meeting with the Edmonton Oilers. He said it felt good to see everyone at Bellerose showing that they cared.

Asked if he had a message for the riders, Everett said, “Thank you.”

Team effort

In an interview, Leverman said Bikeathon participants will ride in shifts until 1:30 p.m. March 8 as part of this fundraiser. Students will sleep at the school overnight and attend class whenever they’re not riding, with organizers providing healthy meals and snacks. Guest speakers, hypnotist Wayne Lee, and teachers in the famous Happy Fun Time Show will provide entertainment.

Participants in this year’s Bikeathon came prepared with blankets, mattresses, food, coolers, game systems, and at least one refrigerator. Many sported elaborate props and costumes, such as that group of Flintstones-like cavemen with inflatable clubs, those Greco-Roman folks wreathed in ivy and togas, and Team Royal Riders, who had erected some sort of cardboard castle around their bike.

Bellerose student Cole Clymer and his cohorts sported yellow duck hats as members of the Rub A Dub Duckies, which they said was also the team name they used when they won the school’s intramural volleyball tournament.

“Since we won intramurals, we can beat cancer,” Clymer said.

Clymer said he was touched to hear Everett speak about his cancer experience. He himself was riding in honour of his uncle, who died of cancer 10 years ago.

Grade 12 student Maggie Peters helped raise some $6,000 for this year’s Bikeathon as part of the Glitter Glam Groove Group. She said she was riding in honour of her uncle, who was diagnosed with cancer last month.

“I have his T-shirt in my locker, and that’s what I’m going to be wearing tomorrow,” she said.

Leverman said this year’s Bikeathon aimed to raise about $250,000. He hoped the event showed students that they can make a difference.

“It’s important to try and a difference on a daily basis and be good citizens forever.”

The 2024 Bikeathon wraps up March 8. Visit for details.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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