Brendan Whieldon started fundraising for children with cancer when he was first diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, at four-years-old, by selling calendars door to door with his mother.
He would undergo eight years of chemotherapy, from ages 4 to 13, and then three years of leg surgery. All the while, he volunteered and fundraised for kids like him, and families like his own; those who had to face the battle of childhood cancer.
Today, 19-year-old Brendan and his mother, Shannon, organize the annual Inside Ride event, which will come to Cloverdale Recreation Centre for its sixth year on Oct. 13.
The Inside Ride is an indoor cycling challenge and fundraiser to support children with cancer and their families. The upcoming event is organized by members of the British Columbia Childhood Cancer Parents Association (BCCCPA), and the money raised will go to their cash grant program.
Shannon Whieldon has been a board member with BCCCPA since 2002, the year Brendan was diagnosed with cancer.
“The money from the ride goes to help families who have children battling cancer,” said Whieldon. “We give out cash grants, no questions asked, to families in crisis, often referred to us through the social worker, family physicians, or school principle, to help them through the worst of times.”
“It’s not much,” she said. “But we give whatever we can.”
The Inside Ride is a one-hour bike race that pits teams of six against each other. Stationary bikes are lined up in facing rows, and every team member bikes for a 10-minute shift. At the end of the hour, the kilometres of each bike are counted up.
It’s certainly a competition for some. Two teams in particular, made up of the “athletic doctors” from Langley Memorial Hospital, where Whieldon works, and Flaman Fitness, where Brendan worked, face off each year, training to get in tip-top shape ahead of the ride.
Others are there more for the atmosphere. There’s a kids team, and team Mother’s Love includes 91-year-old grandmother Hazel Amos, who has participated in the race since the BCCCPA ride began six years ago.
“It’s a high inspiration ride,” said Whieldon. “There’s so much energy, music, people are waving, fanning riders with their shirts and cardboard.”
She said that the 10-minute ride can be surprisingly tough for some, but each year their goal is “to match or beat our personal best.”
After all, she said, “It’s only ten minutes, and these kids go years and years through treatment.”
Brendan, a Langley Secondary student, said the Inside Ride event was “tons of fun, and it’s to raise money for kids with cancer, so you can’t go wrong.”
His journey with cancer treatment and recovery has been a “long journey,” he said. “I learned a lot. I had great support. Great people giving advice and help.”
“Now, I’m just trying to be a good, contributing member of the community and to give back to people,” he said.
At the root of it all Brendan wants to help out kids and families that are going through what he and his family did.
“I want to help others reach their own goals,” he said. “And to help them live a healthy life.”
Plus, he said. “The ride’s just really fun.”
This year’s ride will take place on Friday, Oct. 13 at Cloverdale Recreation Centre from 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
For more information, visit theinsideride.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-360-7674.