When Calgarian Cindy Faas stepped off her stationary bike after the CANSuffer to Conquer event this February, she was tired, exhilarated and emotional. With her husband, Phil, at her side and her One Aim Cycling Club teammates around her, she participated in the fundraiser she discovered a year before.
“Last year in May, I went to the Southcentre Mall alone – it was important but hard for me, because it was my first bald debut after starting chemo to treat breast cancer,” she says. Once there, she discovered CANSuffer to Conquer cyclists riding to help end cancer. Seeing them, she felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and began to thank each rider personally. “I was too emotional to thank everyone, but I knew what they were doing would continue to inspire me.”
The inspiration was immediate. Faas wrote about the experience on her blog and soon heard from Nigel Brockton, One Aim’s founder, and Martin Dodd, founder of CANSuffer. “They reached out and I was immediately accepted as a part of their group,” Faas explains. “They supported me through chemo, surgery and radiation, always encouraging me to stay positive.”
Armed with support from family and newfound friends, Faas began participating in events. “I had already signed up for Run for the Cure, expecting to walk,” she says. “I was motivated by One Aim and trained for the five-kilometre run while having chemo. Two teammates, Dennis and Cam, ran with me.”
One week later, just before her bilateral mastectomy and radiation treatments, Faas and her husband signed up for the 2015 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. “Phil and I never thought we’d do a 200-kilometre ride – we didn’t even own bikes,” she says. “But now we have such an emotional connection with the One Aim team, and we have complete faith in the training and support they’ll provide.”
Now done her treatments and cancer-free, Faas will continue to be a role model for her children and, wherever possible, for others who are faced with cancer. “By participating in the ride, I hope I can share with people going through treatment that there’s life after cancer. So many cancer survivors leading full, healthy lives, and that’s incredibly important to know.”