Pedal for Hope – raising $2 million for childhood cancer research

Did you know that 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Pedal for Hope? And in those 10 years participants have raised
$2 million. Pedal for Hope is a big part of the Canadian Cancer Society’s fundraising efforts, but this big idea started out small – it started with an idea noted on a napkin.

Detective Constable John Townsend, co-chair for the Cops for Cancer program, was sitting in a restaurant and had the big idea for Pedal for Hope – a fundraising program to raise money for childhood cancer research.

Pedal for Hope

Every spring since 2004, members of the Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and former NHLer John Druce shed their uniforms for exercise gear and a bike to pedal 1,000 kilometres over three weeks. They make stops at 50 schools in Central Ontario to tell kids about other kids who are just like them but who are however living with cancer.

“Reaching the first $1 million mark was a huge triumph for us. But, having a child who is fighting cancer tell me ‘I’m free and clear’ is the biggest triumph of all,” Detective Constable John Townsend.

Each police officer on the Pedal for Hope team dedicates his or her ride to a child who is currently battling cancer, and some also ride for a child in memoriam. This year the Peterborough Pedal for Hope team hopes to raise $400,000. The children at the participating schools contribute to fundraising through bake sales, pizza days, penny drives, etc. And some, with parental permission of course, will shave their heads or cut off their pony tails, donating their hair for wigs for kids with cancer.

Dr Don Mabbott is the recipient of an Innovation Grant of $200,000 from the Canadian Cancer Society funded through Pedal for Hope. Dr Mabbott is a researcher, psychologist, and senior associate scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Ontario and associate professor at the University of Toronto.

Dr Don Mabbott

Radiation therapy has been crucial in saving the lives of children with brain cancer, yet the long-term side effects that include learning and thinking problems have significant impact on their futures.

With the Pedal for Hope Innovation Grant of the Canadian Cancer Society,
Dr Mabbott and his team will measure the effects of an exercise program on learning, memory and thinking ability, and brain tissue structure and growth in 40 childhood cancer survivors. In earlier research, he found promising evidence that exercise helps regrow brain cells in survivors.

Support childhood cancer research by making a donation today. Find out more about childhood cancer research and how you can help on cancer.ca