Duo bike for cancer cure

Scarborough cyclists, participating in this June’s Ride to Conquer Cancer, vow to knock out the disease

Jason Ettorre and Raul Pavon have a lot of things in common.

Both live in Scarborough, both enjoy biking, both have seen people suffer from cancer, and both have now accepted the challenge to fight the deadly disease.

This June, the two men will participate in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, a two-day cycling event from Toronto to Niagara Falls.

Ettorre and Pavon are not alone, and will be united with thousands of others on the 200-kilometre path.

“People that know somebody who has been affected by cancer [will be riding] and there are also people who have survived cancer that are going to be participating,” Pavon said. “There are lots of cancer patients who did not make it and [will] be in our memories on this ride.”

According to Canadian cancer statistics for 2011, 40 per cent of women and 45 per cent of men in Canada will develop cancer during their lifetimes. This includes Pavon’s mother, who suffered from breast cancer and his wife, who had skin cancer.

Like Pavon, Ettorre also saw his family and friends suffer from cancer. He said it distressed him when he saw cancer take his colleague’s life at a young age.

“It was too much for me,” he said.

After seeing enough suffering, Ettorre and Pavon are now devoted to fighting it.

The 200-kilometre journey, however, is not the only challenge they face. Each rider must raise $2,500 or more before the event in order to participate.

According to conquercancer.ca, proceeds will go towards The Princess Margaret Hospital to provide care for cancer patients and to support research initiatives for cancer therapies.

Pavon said that it hasn’t been easy to ask people for money.

“People keep saying, ‘Oh yes, let me know when you are ready so I can fill out the donation form and I can contribute’. When you ask, [they say], ‘Oh, right now isn’t a good time’,” he said.

Ettore also continues to struggle in reaching his fundraising goal.

“I expected a certain amount from requests, a certain amount from night school, and a certain amount from hockey polls, fundraising parties, and dinners,” Ettorre said. “But you don’t really achieve as much as you think you are going to achieve. And then you are scrambling.”

Despite the obstacles, Pavon said giving up is not an option.

“A lot of cancer survivors and [people] diagnosed with cancer always keep fighting, no matter what. For me, it’s to never give up, and always keep fighting,” he said. “I am riding for my mom, my wife’s family. We need to conquer cancer, knock it out of here, and get a cure.”

Ettorre and Pavon have been rigorously preparing themselves for the journey to Niagara Falls.

“I have been going to the gym every other day and I do anywhere from 30 kilometres to almost 50 kilometres,” Pavon said.

Ettorre himself usually does 40 kilometres.