When his father was diagnosed with brain cancer last September, George Schindel felt compelled to act.
“I didn’t want to stand around and just do nothing. I wanted to help as much as I could.”
A week later, he signed up for the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, a 250-kilometre, two-day trek from Vancouver to Seattle that raises funds and awareness for the BC Cancer Foundation this weekend.
“The way I looked at it was my dad has to do a lot more fighting than riding 250 kilometres. It’s easier to ride 250 kilometres than it is to fight cancer.”
The 20-year-old Cloverdale resident, who has been mountain biking for six years, bought his first road bike a few months later.
“It was a bit of an adjustment,” he said, referring to the clip-in pedals. “It’s fun – it’s a different style of riding.”
He has been training since February, riding an average of 30 km once a week or more. During the June 18-19 journey, he hopes to ride six hours each day.
Schindel will be joined by a familiar face – his youth pastor from Westwinds Community Church, Reuben Kramer, is also taking part in the ride.
Not only do the two have to prepare for the physical challenge, but they are also required to fundraise a minimum of $2,500 to participate.
Thanks to the generosity of Schindel’s coworkers, the duo has received a boost to put them well over that mark.
On May 15, all staff at Montana’s in Grandview Corners donated their tips to the cause, raising $2,500 – more than doubling their initial goal.
Not only did the contribution help Schindel come within just $500 of his $5,000 target, but it raised awareness of the event itself.
“When we had the fundraiser at Montana’s, people didn’t know what the ride was,” he said. “People see it but they don’t register until someone close to them is diagnosed.”
Which was also the case for Schindel. The Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary grad said he wasn’t aware of the fundraiser until his father, David, was diagnosed.
“It hits home pretty quick.”
Since then, Schindel has continually shaved his head in support of his father, who is to begin his sixth round of chemotherapy in the coming weeks.
Although his family was “a little surprised” to hear of his participation in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, Schindel said his father is behind him.
“He’s really supportive of it right now.”
Family members plan to see him off Saturday and watch him cross the finish line the following day – and it may not be the last time they do so.
“Odds are, I’m going to be doing this for a bit.”
To donate to Schindel, visit va11.conquercancer.ca