Jolaine Wiens will participate in the 2014 Ride2Survive this weekend.

White Rock woman riding for loved ones

Jolaine Wiens battling through illness for 2014 Ride2Survive

Two summers ago, Jolaine Wiens was convinced she would never walk again.

The thought came to her after nearly four months of being confined to her bed due to an auto-immune disorder called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS).

The disorder – which Wiens was only recently diagnosed with, despite being in pain for more than 20 years – causes the immune system to attack the body and targets the joints in the spine causing pain, stiffness and inflammation in the back. It can eventually lead to serious complications.

“I thought, ‘this is it. I’m done,” Wiens recalled. “It wasn’t getting any better. It’s the kind of pain that feels like you’ve been hit by lightning.”

Flash-forward two years, and Wiens is anticipating pain, but this time it will come after she attempts to bike 400 km in one day for the annual Ride2Survive, benefiting the Canadian Cancer Society.

The 45-year-old White Rock woman is taking on the challenge for two important reasons, including to recognize her beloved father, Walter Brown, who is a two-time cancer survivor and Wiens’ hero.

“My dad worked so hard to raise five kids and put food on the table and provide for us,” Wiens said, noting that while he is cancer-free, his body is feeling the strain of a lifetime of hard work.

“He was a quiet man and didn’t use a lot of words, but I can see all that he did for us. He worked his body to this point for us.”

Wiens added that she is also taking on the 19-hour ride simply because she has the ability to do so – something that she would never have thought was possible.

“If I have a body that works, I want to do something with it,” she said.

She noted that she is also riding for those who cancer has taken away too soon, including a mentor and her best friend’s husband, who passed away when he was 29.

“All those people are really important to me, so I want to do this for them,” she said. “I haven’t had cancer, but I know what it feels like when your body is hijacked. You’re angry at your body for not co-operating with you.

“There is a difference between being alive and living. Before this, when I was lying there, I was just alive. But now, to be able to do this, I’m thinking I’m living and I’m contributing.”

Wiens first heard about the race through retired White Rock fire chief Al McNabb, who participates annually in honour of his late first wife, Mervi.

“We spin together every week and he told me about this ride. So for years, when they would participate, I would follow them on (the website’s) GPS while I’d be in my house on crutches, waiting for updates,” she said. “I’ve always been a biker and love to ride, and I wished so bad I could do it.

“Last year, when I watched the computer, I cried the whole day. I wanted to do it, and now I can.”

The road for Wiens to get to this point has been difficult and plagued with setbacks. Shortly after she first signed up for the ride, she had to use crutches for seven weeks.

“It was a slap in the face. I felt like it was my body laughing at me and saying ‘how dare you be so bold to think you can do this, don’t you remember I’m in charge?’ she said.

“I doubted myself. It was a hard seven weeks. I thought, I’m not going to be able to do that.”

Fortunately, with the support of her team – including McNabb and her physiotherapist, Shelley Cowcill – Wiens pushed through.

But as one thing fell into place, another obstacle came up, making the ride even more personal for Wiens.

While she was fundraising and training, she was also undergoing tests for cancer.

Despite the stress and fear of what the test results would say, Wiens continued to power through her training and obligations.

Finally, when she received her tests – negative so far – she let her wall down and shared the news with her teammates.

“Al said to me, ‘whatever happens, we won’t let you down’,” she said. “I just thought, you know, I have never had a ‘we’ before. When I needed help, I didn’t have that. And to have this team of people… I know 100 per cent he meant what he said. That’s what a family is.”

That support has propelled Wiens through the obstacles she has faced leading up to the race and will help push her through the pain as she travels with a team of 130 from Kelowna to Delta raising funds for cancer research and support.

Even if Wiens is not able to complete the entire 400 km, she knows the distance is just one component to the fundraiser.

“As you progress, you learn more and more about what it’s all about. You hear the stories, the passion and how much of a family the group is,” she said. “I would say it’s absolutely life-changing for me and I think it will stay that way each year I can participate.”

To donate to Wiens’ ride, go to and enter ‘Jolaine Wiens’ under the ‘search for a participant’ section.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Officers with the Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team were at a White Rock home Tuesday (Oct. 20) to assist Vancouver Police Department with execution of a search warrant. (Contributed photo)
ERT response to White Rock home connected to homicide: police

Search underway in the 15800-block of Prospect Crescent

Ivan Scott. (Aaron Hinks photo)
Surrey mayor enters word war with speakers, councillor

McCallum calls brief recess after asking two speakers to leave chambers

Montreal-based writer Michael Foy grew up in the Newton area of Surrey. (submitted photo)
Surrey-raised writer Foy really loves to set his short stories in the city

His latest is published in ‘Canadian Shorts II’ collection

The site of the former Rona store in Newton could be home to a park and civic amenities, in the 6900-block of King George Boulevard. (Photo: Google Street View)
Surrey buying 16 properties in Newton for parkland, civic amenities

Mayor Doug McCallum says project will be ‘fast-tracked’

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
White Rock dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan arrives at Luxton Hall to cast their votes in advance polls for the provincial election in Langford, B.C., Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Pandemic election prompts voter suppression claims by B.C. Liberals

‘These emergencies require in us a maturity that has been lacking in politics for so long’

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of possibly decades-old airplane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of UBC geoscientists discovered the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. records 127 fatal overdoses in September, roughly 4 each day

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria continued to see the highest numbers of overdoses

Most Read