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DYNAMIC DUO – Dr. Huy Chau, left, and Ben Yip pose for a pic during training for the Tour de Cure in July in Kelowna. The charity race for cancer research takes place in the Fraser Valley in B.C. Aug. 27.

Yukon doctor riding in Tour de Cure to raise funds to conquer cancer

Dr. Huy Chau of Whitehorse is traveling down to Chilliwack Aug. 27 to take part in the Tour de Cure.

By Morris Prokop on August 8, 2022

Dr. Huy Chau of Whitehorse is traveling down to Chilliwack Aug. 27 to take part in the Tour de Cure.

The event takes place in the Fraser Valley in B.C. It starts and finishes at Heritage Park in Chilliwack, and is comprised of 50, 100 and 160 kilometre races.

“Chilliwack is hosting us, but really, when you’ve got one of the distance options covering over 100 miles, you’ll see a lot more than just that town,” said Lindsay Carswell, the senior director of development for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

Carswell explained how the Tour de Cure came about.

“The B.C Cancer Foundation has been staging a large cycling fundraising event since 2009 for many years – well, up until the pandemic hit, it was known as the Ride to Conquer Cancer. So it’s an event that a lot of people are familiar with.

“It’s an incredible coming together of the cancer community. It provides thousands of people with the opportunity to share their story, to heal and to find purpose and an outlet for a common goal of breaking down cancer,” he added.

“It’s a variety of things that we are able to use the funds for that includes breakthrough research, recruitment of talent, like scientists, that can produce this breakthrough research, state of the art technology and patient support services,” related Carswell.

Carswell said it’s pretty easy to register for the event.

“Go to https://tourdecure.ca. A lot of people will do it as a group of colleagues from work or as friends or family.”

Carswell said the number of participants is looking good.

“We’re encouraged and really delighted with the response. In fact, there’s people from every corner of B.C. but also from a number of provinces and states that are coming so it’s very encouraging to see the response we’ve gotten.”

According to Carswell, there’ll probably be between 1,500 to 2,000 cyclists.

“It’s amazing to see the numbers that are committing to riding 100 kilometres or 160.”

Each person who signs up commits to raising a minimum of $2,500.

As for donations, “You go to the same site and the donations are usually collected or the result of personal appeals, so you can easily navigate your way to an individual who you want to support and donate towards,” said Carswell.

He added “The B.C. Cancer Foundation” is here to stay. We’re committed and we’re very proud to be able to provide this opportunity to gather at the end of August.”

Dr. Chau’s team, the Flying Tiger, has raised $37,360 to date, with Chau leading the way with $6,426.

The Star reached him in Kelowna, where he explained how he got involved in the event.

“A few of my friends live in the (Vancouver) area and every now and then they’ll choose some kind of cancer-type relay to be involved in or some kind of event ... one of my friends, he’s huge into cycling. His father recently passed away from cancer so that’s kind of the connection of having gotten into this charitable event.

“One of my good buddies (Ben Yip), we grew up together and he’s got a number of family members who have had cancer and a couple of them have passed away from it, so every now and then he’ll send me a note saying ‘Hey, are you interested in this event?’, something close to him.

“I think with life we get so busy we forget about these type of charitable events and he’s always a good reminder for me and so the last time we did something like this was about 10 years ago. We did the Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer. We’re both hockey fanatics so it was easy, but this time we decided to pick an event that would push us a little bit more – to educate us on the sport but also at the same time, the primary focus is raising money for cancer research. It was a no-brainer and coming from Whitehorse, I thought this was something similar to the Haines to Haines run. He’s like ‘It’s gonna be 100 kilometres but there’s going to be 10 of us’ and so I was like ‘Yeah, I can do a leg for you. 10 kilometres, that’s easy.’ And so when I met up with him, he’s like ‘No, no, this is 100 kilometres and all 10 of us are riding together as a pack, so I committed early, then recognized what I got myself into ... I took it on as a challenge.”

“There’s a few good reasons why I’m participating. One is being in medicine, obviously and seeing cancer and the impact it has on people, family. The second one is my father-in-law, who’s diagnosed with cancer. He’s still a survivor, 11 years in and it’s fascinating – even 16 years in medicine – how much cancer treatment has changed in that 16 years, and the experimental drugs. So he was part of a number of experimental studies and I think it’s very important that we support that research because I’ve watched people on these new treatments that has provided added life expectancy,” he added.

Chau has tried to get in some training, despite the long Whitehorse winter.

“With the late winter and what I’ve learned too, is that the highways don’t necessarily get cleaned right away, so doing a lot of indoor biking on a trainer and once the snow melted, did a couple rides out there and then down here in Kelowna, with beautiful weather, it’s been a lot easier to ride more. They’ve got some really good trails down here, quite a big cycling community in Kelowna, so it’s been pretty easy to get out and ride.”

Chau looks at this as a big challenge.

“Absolutely. When I was shocked that it wasn’t going to be a 10 kilometre ride, I kind of thought about pulling out of it initially but once I committed, I felt I needed to maintain that commitment. I’ve got a pretty supportive partner who’s allowing me to do the training and I’m riding with a number of colleagues and Ben, my buddy from Vancouver, has come up to Kelowna right now and so we’re probably going to do a couple of longer rides.

“I think the idea is more just to participate and complete it, as opposed to participating and getting under three hours or whatever it is. So I think it’s definitely doable from that perspective.”

Chau said he plans to do something like it next year.

“I think that’s the hope. And whether it be cycling again or another different event – I think one of the things we forget about in the pandemic is it’s really allowed us to focus on that there’s so many things that are important in life. Sometimes we’re in this rat race and we forget about it. And so being invited to this and training for this allows me to put more focus on enjoying life, focusing on what’s good, as opposed to having just been so fixated on the pandemic, being in medicine, for the last few years.

“I definitely do hope that we would do further events with something like Tour de Cure or something like that or continue cycling. So I definitely see this as an opportunity, for sure.”

Chau added “The main focus of why I’m doing this is for cancer research.I think it’s huge. I think it’s important. I’m really fascinated to hear all the new developments that occurred in the last decade and the successes of some of them and how important it is to support something so important that does impact almost all of us.

“So I do think the whole support of cancer research is necessary and I think that’s the message I want to pass on ... it’s less about us doing the ride. It’s more about why we’re riding.”

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