Local man putting rubber to the road in support of children’s cancer

“If I can do something I love, which is (also) my stress reliever and raise some money… it’s a win-win,” says the man who hopes to cycle 1,250 miles and raise $2,500.

Like the rest of the world, Tom Howitt had a lot of extra time on his hands last spring after being fired from his job and forced to stay home due to the pandemic.

To relieve the boredom and monotony of sitting at home day in and day out, Howitt decided to buy himself a mountain bike.

“It was the first time in 18 years that I was on a bike and I just fell in love with it again,” he told MidlandToday from his home in Angus, adding that he was mountain biking as a child, the first few rides as an adult were less than enjoyable.

“It was horrible to be honest… It’s really not like cycling at all. It took a few weeks for you to feel comfortable again before you could put on some miles again. Once I was (going) I got hooked and started to go further and further.

Now that Howitt has rediscovered his passion for cycling, he’s decided to combine that with trying to raise money and awareness for a cause that has gotten him a little too close to home over the years.

While scrolling through Facebook last year, he came across a link for the Great Cycle Challenge in support of Sick Kids Foundation — a month-long virtual cycling challenge to fight childhood cancer — and decided to sign up.

In 2020 he drove 500 kilometers in two weeks, so this year he has decided to challenge himself further and wants to raise $2,500 and drive 1,250 kilometers.

“My mother had cancer and thankfully she is doing well now, but a friend of mine has a four-year-old who is currently at Sick Kids with leukemia,” he said. “They’re doing great things there, so if I can do something that I enjoy, which is (also) my stress reliever and raise some money…it’s a win-win situation.”

Howitt will be part of a group of riders who plan to ride from Barrie to Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital on Aug. 7, a journey of approximately 112 miles.

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