Saturday will be Tarran Young’s first time embarking on the 200 km Ride to Conquer Cancer.
The Whitecourt resident was supposed to ride alongside her mother Cathleen Kidd, who had completed the ride twice before.
Instead, Young will ride in her mom’s memory after losing her to a brain tumour.
“Towards the end of her journey she wasn’t able to communicate very well, but I kept telling her over and over again I was going to do the ride for her and try to be as strong and courageous as she was,” Young said. “She would smile and squeeze my hand as I talked about the ride.”
Kidd did her first ride in 2015.
The next year she went from fundraiser to patient. She began having difficulties with simple things like cutting an apple. A seizure pushed doctors to investigate.
In May 2016, doctors at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary found a grade three cancerous tumour.
In June and July of that year she underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She started her second ride the day after her final treatment.
“She just kept on going, it was unbelievable,” Young said. “She had a lot of strength and determination to finish the ride. It was something she was passionate about.”
‘I just miss talking with her’
In March 2017 an MRI scan found another tumour, this one, stage 4. Kidd died on July 8.
“It was out of nowhere,” Young said. “It was a difficult journey for her.”
Because she had been taking care of her mom, she has had no time to train.
“I just miss talking with her,” Young said, tearing up.
Young’s husband will be riding with her, and family will be cheering her on.
More than $60 million raised
Myka Osinchuk, CEO of the Alberta Cancer Foundation, said they give $2-3 million each year for cancer clinical trials.
Research has transformed prognosis of many cancers. For example, Osinchuk said 20 years ago testicular cancer was a death sentence, now it is almost curable when caught early. Certain types of breast cancer have an 85 per cent cure rate.
Beyond clinical trials, another important part of the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s funding is a support program for patients to in rural centres to help them navigate treatment.
Since the ride started in 2009, more than $60 million has been raised and Osinchuk said the foundation is hoping to hit $66 million this year.
Each rider must raise a minimum of $2,500. On Saturday morning, organizers announced more than 1,500 riders raised $6.7 million for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.