Thorp, from Brock’s Campus Security Services, and his team of approximately 15 cyclists, are raising substantial funds for cancer patients at the Walker Family Cancer Centre (WFCC). This year, the Big Move ride is scheduled for September 8, 2019 and is the 11th annual ride hosted by the Niagara Health Foundation (NHF). Karl has ridden in seven of them. He didn’t start as captain, but took over the role in 2014. His team has even made it into the Platinum Peddlers Club, an elite fundraising club awarded to those teams that raise $50,000 or more collectively over the years.
Karl rides because he values the importance of this annual fundraiser for the people of Niagara, “The money stays here in Niagara. Keep it here so the patients can do their cancer treatments and therapies close to where their family, friends and supports are.”
“There are a lot of other cancer rides out there,” said Chris Green, the director of communications, marketing and community engagement at NHF. “This one is different. It is purely local and purely for Niagara and raises money for people currently in the centre. You can be assured when you donate to this cause that it is going to affect someone who is battling and fighting cancer today because it goes to patient care and equipment needs.”
The money raised goes to an area set as the priority for that year. Some years there is a specific need. For instance, last year the funds purchased a new MRI machine for cancer diagnosis. This year, Green says the centre needs to do “a few pharmaceutical upgrade pieces in dealing with the delivery of chemotherapy and a number of other items for the rest of the cancer centre.”
Staggering statistics from the WFCC show the need for The Big Move Cancer Ride in the Niagara Region. As of last year the centre has had over 75,000 visits and of them, 4,000 patients had radiation treatments. In total, over 65,000 treatments were performed.
Green and the committee at NHF work to make things new and fresh in order to help continue to bring funds to Niagara.
“The provincial government takes care of certain funding items in the hospital such as keeping the facility open, the fees paid to doctors and nurses through OHIP and the administrative staff, but most people do not realise the government does not cover funding for equipment for the most part,” said Green.
The committee has added a new family ride to get more people involved. This route is shorter at 15 km, as well as flatter and more scenic. Green says it is purely recreational.
Also new this year is the White Meadows Farm starting location. The new start makes an easier ride for families and children and works around the construction. In the past, the ride started at Club Roma but the change became necessary partially due to the construction on one of the main roads up Rockway Hill onto the escarpment.
“We can’t thank Club Roma enough for the partnership they had with us for 10 years. They were unbelievable hosts but we had to change a few things because of the construction and the new routes,” said Green.
The ride is a big event with over 400 participants and hundreds of volunteers, many of whom have a personal connection to the cause.
“It touches so many people,” said Green. “You would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have someone either friend or family touched by cancer, whether they battled it, survived it, or lost someone to cancer.”
Karl has had a co-workers wife as well as a high school friend pass away from cancer. He rides in hopes that the WFCC gets the equipment they need to help with earlier detection and shorter treatments so that people that have cancer can keep their hospitalization to a minimum and to recover with their family.
What is Thorp’s strategy to help raise funds?
“You just ask,” said Thorp. “If people can donate they donate; if they can’t they can’t. Just ask and you get what you can get.”
If interested in joining the ride registration will be taken up to the day of, but the committee prefers advance registration. Entry fees, information on sponsoring a team, like Karl and the Brock University Cyclones, donating funds or how to volunteer can be found at www.bigmovecancerride.com.