Cassandra Knight (Liska) is getting on her bike in the streets of Drumheller with a purpose: on Saturday, June 26, she is embarking on a 200 km two day ride across the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with thousands of men and women with the same goal: riding to conquer cancer for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
Eight years ago, Cassandra and her husband moved to Drumheller from Lethbridge, for her job at the Alberta Employment and Immigration office.
Cassandra is riding in honour of her dad, Jerry, who passed away in 2008, 29 days after being diagnosed on his 62nd birthday, with lung cancer.
During this time, Cassandra found a lot of support from the cancer organization and social workers at the hospital in the Lethbridge Cancer Centre.
She explains that the Alberta Cancer Foundation supports research and is also very pro-active with a prevention campaign. As well, each participant is riding to raise money for breakthrough research and the discovery of new cancer therapies.
The Alberta Cancer Foundation is dedicated to supporting cancer research and programs at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, the Cross Cancer Institute and 16 other cancer centres across rural Alberta. They provide funding for basic, translational and clinical research, advanced treatment programs, prevention and screening initiatives, equipment and facility enhancements, a patient financial assistance program and psychosocial initiatives at all Alberta cancer centres.
Cassandra had heard about the event last year, which was the event’s first ride and told The Mail “I wasn’t prepared to take it on, I wasn’t in a position to put in enough training to be able to do it.”
This year, Cassandra decided to take the challenge on. “I am always one to challenge myself and this is definitely a challenge for me, it is really going to push me and I like to set these kinds of goals,” she explained.
Recently, Cassandra took up the challenge of playing a role in Kaleidoscope Theatre’s production of Like Bees To Honey, and now that the show is over, she is concentrating on a tough training regime.
As well as practicing on her home trainer, she has mapped areas in Drumheller to ride a 15 km radius and her aim is to cycle to Dorothy and back to Drumheller closer to the race, making it an 80 km ride.
Cassandra has also started a blog, as part of the Ride to Conquer Cancer program, which she has found very helpful and is giving her extra motivation, “When I wrote my story on the blog, it was sort of like a relief. When I finished, I sat back in my chair and cried for a little bit as it was re-living it a bit. The support I am getting from people I am sharing my story with, people I don’t see every day or people I don’t even know and talking about it really helps. It makes you know that you are not alone, that’s one of the biggest things I have found after everything happened, I have learned how much cancer has affected so many people.”
Cassandra is opening an invitation to anyone in Drumheller who would like to join her in her training: “If anyone wants to go for a ride with me, people can leave me a comment and let me know if they want to join me, I am not your super fit cyclist type! If anyone wants to join me on my training, it will make it more fun.”
Her aim is to raise $2,500 with this event, donations can be done through her blog, and she is also organizing a hot dog sale at IGA on April 17 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.
For more info…
To make a donation or to see Cassandra’s blog, go to conquercancer.ca, click on Alberta, then “donate now” and search for Cassandra Knight.
To make a donation by phone, call 888-624-bike.