Cyclists get local boost

Cell Cyclists and many other teams will be riding in the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Ride to Conquer Cancer at the end of the month.

  • Aug. 23, 2016 3:00 p.m.
Cell cyclists Kwame Twumasi-Boateng

Cell cyclists Kwame Twumasi-Boateng

Steven HeywoodBlack Press

A team of Victoria-area researchers are about to embark on two significant journeys, both designed to help support and treat people with cancer.

The first journey received a significant boost from Arbutus RV and Marine Sales this week — a $10,000 donation — to help top up the researchers’ fundraising goal in this year’s Ride to Conquer Cancer.

The company — with locations in Port Alberni and Nanaimo — has supported the effort all summer, hosting ride-a-thons for the Cell Cyclists team.

Arbutus RV Marketing Manager Tracy Nice said one of the riders, Kris Gordon, is the son of one of their employees. So when they heard about the ride and what the team was raising money for, they jumped on board.

“Their timing was great,” Nice said. “We were able to tie it in with our summer promotion.”

Made up of scientists who work at the Deely Research Centre, a branch of the B.C. Cancer Agency’s centre in Victoria — the Cell Cyclists will be riding in the two-day Ride to Conquer Cancer from Vancouver to Seattle on August 27 and 28. The donation helped them surpass their fundraising goal of $20,000, exceeding $22,000 — and they aren’t finished yet.

Cell cyclists team captain Kwame Twumasi-Boateng said they have more time to raise more money — all of which they are asking be put back into the Deely Research Centre’s upcoming clinical trial, using T-cells to fight ovarian and cervical cancer.

He said in 2017 the centre is embarking on the trial, one of only two research facilities in Canada doing the work, the other being in Toronto. They will be taking patient tumour samples and, in sterile conditions, triggering the production of T-cells — or cells that are known to fight cancer cells — and then injecting them back into patients. Twumasi-Boateng said T-cells are commonly in use to treat skin cancers and this focus on ovarian and cervical cancers is a new approach — and the team’s second journey once their two-day bike ride is over.

It was this work that Nice said made Arbutus RV more than comfortable getting behind.

Cell Cyclists and many other teams will be riding in the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Ride to Conquer Cancer at the end of the month. To learn more or to donate, visit conquercancer.ca.