Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for September 12, 2013

Bell launches charity in memory of late son Paxton

On the eve of the Pro Sprint Challenge in Quebec City, Watson Lake cyclist Zach Bell has launched a special fund-raising campaign in honour of his late son, Paxton.

By Marcel Vander Wier on September 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm


Photo submitted


On the eve of the Pro Sprint Challenge in Quebec City, Watson Lake cyclist Zach Bell has launched a special fund-raising campaign in honour of his late son, Paxton.

Last October, Bell and his wife Rebecca were crushed when their infant son died just three days after being delivered in Vancouver. Paxton was born not breathing due to a late-pregnancy issue with the umbilical cord resulting in a lack of oxygen.

As a legacy to honour his son and all families who have experienced hope and loss of loved ones, the couple has launched the Paxton’s Lights For Hope campaign – which will raise money through the sale of candles.

The annual campaign will support the B.C. Women’s Hospital’s Newborn ICU and engage families who have been through a newborn ICU or other challenging experiences around the health of a loved one.

Funds will be raised through the sale of candles via two websites – http://www.paxtonslights.com or http://www.bcwomensfoundation.org.

Candles will be delivered to your family in time for your Thanksgiving gathering. The pure soy candles are made by the Granville Island Candle Company just for the campaign and each candle will burn for more than 50 hours. In order to receive your candles by Thanksgiving, you will need to make your purchase before Oct. 5.

“I hope I can make this campaign a lasting legacy and success in honour of my son and to improve the outcomes for others in the future,” the 30-year-old Bell said. “After a fight that seemed to last an eternity, it was obvious he could not survive. Paxton passed quietly cradled in his mother’s arms ... the perfect picture of an infant that never had the chance to show his true colours.

“Even though our lives together were so short, Rebecca and I loved him and will continue to love him with all our hearts.”

While Paxton’s untimely death continues to weigh heavy on Bell’s heart, the cyclist is currently in the midst of a dream season.

After winning his first national road title in St. Georges, Que. this June, Bell again won the 2013 Canadian Track Championship in Dieppe, N.B. earlier this month.

He also won the 184.7-km stage six of the Tour de Korea in June and finished the tour in 36th place.

“Road and track champion in one year is certainly a unique
accomplishment,” Bell told the Star. “I think it just speaks to the dynamic type of athlete I can be, given the chance.”

The reigning Canadian road and track champion will race the 2013 Pro Sprint Challenge today for the Canadian National Team.

Bell won the sprint event last year while he was racing for Team SpiderTech powered by C10, against some of the top sprinters in the world.

But Bell, who has focused his training and racing on long distances since the Olympic Games, is unsure of what today’s outcome may be.

“I can’t go into this race with too much expectations,” he said in a press release. “I am a different athlete than I was last year. I am not sure how that will materialize in a short event like that.

“Last year, heading into this event, I was riding and training for track. This year, the shortest race I’ve won is 189 km. I made the transition to old-man strength pretty quick. That being said, I think I still have some speed. Having the experience and knowing how to win that drag is going be useful. Hopefully I’ll be able to replicate results from last year.”

Sprinters from each UCI WorldTour team will tackle a one-km course, starting and finishing on La Grande Allée at the Parc de la Francophonie.

The event is a single elimination format, with the top two winners of each heat moving on to the next round until the big final, when a winner will be declared.

Seven additional Canadians will be part of the spectator-friendly event.

Meanwhile, Bell continues to recover from a hard crash he sustained in the inaugural Tour of Alberta last week.

The Champion System Pro Cycling rider crashed in the first stage and was shaken up, but felt better as the week progressed.

“The health is on the mend,” he said. “Certainly improving daily, but not 100 per cent recovered yet.

“The injury didn’t interfere too much at the Tour of Alberta. It’s certainly a little more intense at the WorldTour level. We’ll see how it goes, but it should be OK.”

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