Sharon Easton saw her mother and her grandmother fall victim to cancer.
She knows she’s at risk for the disease but instead of worrying, she’s being proactive in the hope that others will not have to go through the pain of losing a loved one to cancer.
Easton, an avid cyclist since age four, is for the first time taking on the Ride to Conquer Cancer – a challenging, 240-kilometre, two-day cycle from Vancouver to Seattle to raise money for the BC Cancer Society.
Easton, along with all other participants must raise $2,500 which supports researchers, clinicians and scientists in the search for new discoveries and improved cancer patient outcomes.
Easton will be riding for a cause that’s close to her heart.
“We’re on the ovarian cancer research team, OVCaRe,” Easton says. “My mother and my grandmother both passed away from ovarian cancer as did a childhood friend of mine a few years ago. It’s sometimes called the silent killer because often women don’t know they have it until it’s too late. I’m just trying to bring some awareness to it and I know I’m high risk.”
Easton, 61, will be riding with a friend from Vancouver who conquered her battle with ovarian cancer six years ago and who will be riding in the tour for a fifth time.
Easton’s husband Chuck, who also cycles but injured his knee skiing on the last day of the season, will be part of Easton’s support crew along with her friend’s husband.
To prepare for the tour, which runs from June 15-16, Easton has been going to the gym to do weight training and work out on the elliptical, taking fusion classes twice a week, doing yoga three times each week, and a pilates class once a week.
She’s also been cycling nearly every day. Last Saturday, Easton did a 110 kilometre ride down to Courtenay and travelled out to Cumberland before riding back to Campbell River through Campbellton and back to her home in Oyster River.
“As far as cycling goes I’m doing the opposite of what I think other people are doing,” Easton says. “That’s because I have endurance but I can’t go fast so I’m working on my time. Once I conquer the time, I increase the distance. Right now I’m at 109 kilometres at 21.1 kilometres per hour. My goal was 20 kilometres per hour so I’m over my personal goal and now my new goal is 22 kilometres per hour.”
To raise the necessary funds to participate in the tour, Easton has a number of fundraisers lined up.
She recently started a cookie business on a roadside stand outside her home. Her speciality is chocolate chip shortbread and chocolate raisin but Easton will take requests. To buy a cookie, simply pull up outside the home (4077 South Island Highway), take a cookie and leave a donation in the box.
The cookies are also for sale by donation at the Fiesta Greenhouses roadside stand on York Road.
The Eastons will also hold a yard sale with proceeds going to the Ride to Conquer Cancer. The yard sale is Saturday and the Eastons will accept donated items for the yard sale, which can be dropped off at their home.
The following day, May 19, Chuck, who is part of the Campbell River British Car Club, will be hosting a car wash fundraiser at OK Tire from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Weather dependent, the club will have a Jaguar and a DeLorean on display.
Anyone who would like to make a donation separate from the fundraisers can donate online through Easton’s personal Ride to Conquer Cancer page at: www.conquercancer.ca/goto/sharone2013