Cyclists raising money to fight childhood cancer

Sheena Buckner plans to cycle 700 kilometers in August.

Buckner, 70, competes in the Great Cycle Challenge Canada. Participants set personal ride goals and raise money for the SickKids Foundation to fight childhood cancer.

“I had to do something,” Buckner said. “If I go out because of this, ride my bike and raise money for these kids, all the better.

“It makes me healthier and it makes them healthier.”

According to the SickKids Foundation, approximately 1,400 children in Canada are diagnosed with cancer each year. Cancer is the biggest killer of children from disease in the country. Proceeds from the Great Cycle Challenge will go towards providing care, developing treatments and finding a cure for childhood cancer.

Buckner has been participating in the Challenge for three years. She always starts her rides at the Superstore on St. Anne’s Road and Fermor Avenue – near her home – before going all over town.

In her first year, Buckner covered 1,100 miles and in her sophomore year, she raised $2,500.
Her goal for 2021 is to bring in $1,000.

“Everyone has been touched by cancer,” Buckner said. “My daughter just had cancer last year; she’s grown up, but I still tell her she’s my kid.”

To support Buckner’s 2021 Challenge, visit www.greatcyclechallenge.ca/Riders/SheenaKBuckner

It’s a reason that’s also good for Fort Richmond resident Marla Olinyk, 61, whose younger sister, Roxanne, died of brain cancer when she was just four years old.

“If they had discovered it in time, they might have been able to operate, but by the time they found it, it was too late,” Olinyk said.

Olinyk said her sister developed normally until she started struggling to hold onto things. She also had trouble walking and sitting up. Doctors began treating her for cerebral palsy before realizing she had an inoperable brain tumor at the base of her neck.

“We had her in the hospital,” Olinyk said. “I would visit her every day and read her stories.”

With nothing else to do, Roxanne was taken home and kept at ease until she died in her mother’s arms.

Olinyk’s best friend and mother also died of the disease. Olinyk started participating in the Great Cycle Challenge five years ago to honor them.

Her goal this year is to reach 300 kilometers and raise $500.

“When you look at my sister and how she deteriorated, you don’t want anyone to have to go through that,” Olinyk said. “That’s why I’m doing this.”

To support Olinyk’s 2021 Challenge, visit https://greatcyclechallenge.ca/Riders/MarlaOlinyk

More information about the Great Cycle Challenge can be found at www.greatcyclechallenge.ca

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