KAPUSKASING – Two residents of Kapuskasing have taken to their bicycles in order to participate in the Great Cycle Challenge to raise money and awareness to combat cancer.
James Croteau and Norm Leybourne have been biking across the area, receiving pledges and accumulating kilometres ridden to fight back against the disease.
“I had seen the challenge kicking around online, and after seeing Paul Nolet, a guy that works with us, and who I'm riding for, tell me that he was diagnosed with cancer, and thinking about all of the other different people that we know that have it, I said by God I want to try and do something,” Croteau said. “So at the time I didn't know if I could do 500 km, but I said I'll give it a shot, I wanted to raise money and make people aware of this challenge.”
Croteau began the month with the goal to ride 500 km, has currently ridden 635.6 km. Leybourne, his partner in their team the White Crows, has ridden 899.1 km for an accumulated total of 1,534.7 km.
Both have raised an accumulated total of $4,187.24 for their goal of $4,500.
“Our team is ranked 45th nationally, and 23rd in the category, and I personally am ranked 123rd in Ontario,” he said. “So I think thats pretty good for the thousands of people riding, and for someone at 64 years young.”
Croteau said that his route takes him all over the community and surrounding areas, but he does prefer to stay off 'the loop'.
“I do a little route around town most days, and while my daughter was up I rode out to Moonbeam a few times,” he said. “My longest ride thus far has been 75.5 km, and I dedicated that one to Paul. I dedicate different rides to different people that have this disease and have inspired me.”
He said that he intends to continue riding until the end of the month, and has been trying to get in at least 25 km a day.
When asked if he intends to participate in the challenge again in the future, Croteau said that he was willing.
“As long as I'm alive and kicking, I'll do this again,” he said. “We'd like to do this as an annual event, and I'm hoping to be a part of this Great Cycle Challenge again in the future. I definitely will be coming on board again next year, health and age permitting.”
He expressed his thanks to all who helped support them.
“I've been really blown away by alot of the support I have received, and I'd like to really say thank you to everyone for that.”
“I don't go that fast, but I do what I can and it doesn't matter how much I hurt, I can't imagine how much these people are hurting and what it does to them and their families, so if we can raise awareness and some money, then we've succeeded.”