Andrea Lee at the 2017 Ride to Conquer Cancer.
Photos courtesy Andrea Lee
Richmondite riding to raise funds for cancer
By Hannah Scott
Published 12:51 PDT, Fri August 5, 2022
When her father died suddenly from cancer on her birthday in 2017, Richmondite Andrea Lee bought a bike and signed up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
Now called the Tour de Cure, Lee plans to participate in the BC Cancer Foundation’s event again this year, and will be riding 100 kilometres to raise awareness and funds to support cancer research. This cycling event is taking place in the Fraser Valley on Aug. 27, and offers three ride distances: 50, 100, and 160 kilometres.
“The very first year I did it, I signed up right after my dad died,” says Lee. “I didn’t know what to do in my grief, so I impulsively bought a bike and signed up for the ride. I really enjoy it—I think it’s a great event, a great cause.”
Lee’s dad Martin was a cyclist, and she’s kept up her biking since that first organized ride five years ago. Her favourite place to ride in Richmond is along the dyke.
“The first year I rode on a team and made a lot of friends in Richmond who were biking,” she says. “I found out through training that a lot of people in my life, coworkers or friends, were into cycling too. Over the last five years I have kept up with cycling, not in a training capacity but it’s something I really love doing now.”
Lee says after the 2017 event, she was emotional and felt proud of herself for taking on the challenge. She met other riders of varying athletic abilities, including some professional athletes.
“I’m not an athlete, I’m not a cyclist, so it was really difficult for me,” she says. “(The ride) was 250 kilometres, (and) I joined having barely ridden a bike before.”
The sense of community and companionship among riders stood out to Lee, given riders are participating for a common cause. This year, her cousin will join her for the ride.
“I think anyone, no matter what your relation to cancer is, can join. Sadly everyone probably will have a relationship to cancer at some point in their lives,” says Lee. “I think we all feed off people’s energy, all the bike riders. It’s a really fun way to meet people, (and) it’s really wonderful, really motivating to all the riders whenever we get a donation—big or small.”
After several challenging years due to the pandemic, Lee is excited to be attending this event again.
“The last two years have been so terrible for everybody, (for) the health-care system, and now we’re raising money for it—I can’t wait,” she says. “I don’t know how it’s going to feel; maybe it’ll be different, but maybe it’ll be better because we’ve all been apart from each other and doing it virtually.”
To support Lee’s Tour de Cure fundraising goal, visit tourdecure.ca/participant/2872475/4014
Andrea Lee (right) training on the Richmond dyke with her cousin.