Bereaved Calgary moms ride to support children with cancer


Links to breadcrumbs

News Local news

A Calgary team is raising money for Kids Cancer Care by cycling 75 to 115 kilometers on Sunday, many of whom have lost their own child to the disease.

Author of the article:

Brittany Gervais

Publication date:

Jul 17, 2021 • 44 minutes ago • 3 minutes read • Join the conversation Dale Zukowski and Anne Cameron pose for a photo on the Bow River Pathway ahead of an upcoming fundraiser. Relatives of cancer victims are fundraising for bicycles for cancer research and plan to cycle from Banff to Lake Louise tomorrow. Saturday, July 17, 2021. Brendan Miller/Postmedia Brendan Miller/Postmedia

Article content

Dale Zukowski stands on her bike by the Bow River, holding the long beaded necklace she wears in her hands.

Advertisement

This ad hasn’t loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Each bead represents a major surgery, chemotherapy treatment, needle, or friendly hospital visit that her son Joel Zukowski had for over six years. When Joel was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 10, he died of the disease at age 16.

“He was a great kid. He was a light, he had a strong faith and his personality just shone,” Dale said. “That’s why we’re doing this ride as next of kin, because I feel like I’m spending time with Joel now.”

Dale is part of a team of 16 people, many of whom have lost a child of their own to the disease, cycling the Bow Valley Parkway on Sunday to raise money for children with cancer.

The cycling team, called 2legit2quit, is one of 18 teams participating in the second annual Kids Cancer Care Cycle Challenge to raise money for Kids Cancer Care. So far, 2legit2quit has raised $15,354 of the combined $150,000 raised.

Advertisement

This ad hasn’t loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Anne Cameron, the team captain, lost her son Ty Sparks in 2012 after a long battle with acute myeloid leukemia. She started cycling last year and plans to ride 75 kilometers on Sunday.

“I ride for these kids. I know more children in heaven than I have survived cancer, it’s sickening,” Anne said. “People have no idea about childhood cancer, they just don’t know.”

Neither Joel nor Ty ever had the chance to graduate, attend college, or fall in love because of cancer. Still, Anne said Ty had a great sense of humor and loved making people laugh.

“The nurses just loved him,” she said.

According to the Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation, only one in five children survive the disease.

Advertisement

This ad hasn’t loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Despite this, childhood cancer research funding represented nearly five percent of total cancer research investments in 2016, according to the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance.

The treatments that exist today are incredibly harsh, especially for children. If they survive, they are still at risk for long-term health problems from their cancer and its treatment.

Dale Zukowski and Anne Cameron cycle the Bow River Pathway ahead of an upcoming fundraiser. Relatives of cancer victims are fundraising for bicycles for cancer research and plan to cycle from Banff to Lake Louise tomorrow. Saturday, July 17, 2021. Brendan Miller/Postmedia Brendan Miller/Postmedia

“I think more money should be allocated to cancer research for treatments for better treatments that aren’t as harsh and don’t cause as many long-term side effects,” Dale said.

“That’s why the donations are so important, because medicines need research and medical research needs money. And our government does not recognize that it is underfunded.”

Advertisement

This ad hasn’t loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Ty didn’t have cancer when he died, Anne said. He was cured of cancer but did not recover from the treatments used to fight it.

“He was usually in his room, usually in seclusion. He was diagnosed when he was 13 years old and went to heaven when he was 17 years old. He didn’t have cancer that whole time, but he spent most of it in the hospital.”

Both Anne and Dale said they are doing the bike ride to give back to Kids Cancer Care, a charity that helps families fight childhood cancer in Alberta.

Forty percent of the proceeds from KCC are used to fund camp programs, according to the charity’s website, with 20 percent going to research and hospital programs.

Gail Corbett, KCC director of marketing and communications, said she feels she’s meeting “the best of humanity” in her role.

“I get families who have taken this incredible journey that completely changes you. And they’re just thankful that your kids are still alive, or thankful that someone is giving them love and support,” Corbett said.

“It’s an honor to be a part of their journey.”

Anyone who wants to donate to KCC Cycle Challenge or contribute to the 2legit2quit team can visit kidscancercare.com.

Share this article in your social network

Advertisement

This ad hasn’t loaded yet, but your article continues below.

By clicking the sign up button, you agree to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. receive. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300

Remarks

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civilized discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their thoughts on our articles. It can take up to an hour for comments to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve enabled email notifications – you’ll now receive an email when you get a reply to your comment, there’s an update in a comment thread you’re following, or a user follows comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Comments are closed.