Cycle of Life:
One-Legged Cyclist Peddles Hope Starting Canada Day
June 14, 2006 TORONTO: The fight against childhood cancer gets a new burst of muscle and speed as one-legged cyclist and cancer survivor David Visschedyk peddles across Canada to help fight neuroblastoma, a deadly cancer that mostly afflicts children. Riding from coast to coast, David’s journey is the hub of CanadaWide for Cancer, a non-profit event he founded to assist children’s cancer charities. Covering 57 days and 6,900 kilometers, David’s trip kicks off July 1 (Canada Day) in Vancouver and hits the finishing line August 27 in Halifax.
A disciplined and enthusiastic cyclist, David lost his leg at the age of the age of eight to osteogenic sarcoma, the same disease battled by Canadian legend Terry Fox. Now cured, David wants to help cancer-fighting kids cross the finish line and put illness behind them.
“I chose to ride for The James Fund because it’s doing innovative, exciting research that is yielding immediate and impressive results,” said Visschedyk of the Fund named for 8 year old James Birrell who lost his battle with neuroblastoma in 2001. “The odds are stacked against kids with neuroblastoma and I wanted to do something to help increase their chances,” he added, noting that virtually all money donated to The James Fund goes directly into finding a cure for the disease and not into overhead.
Drawing inspiration from the 25th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope as well as Lance Armstrong’s seventh Tour de France win, David will be following the Trans-Canada Highway, with many major cities and small towns visited along the way. Accompanying David will be tour manager, RV driver, and chef Timothy Knowles. A rambling Renaissance man, Timothy is a survivor of skin cancer and is the president and owner of The City Kitchen, a multi-dimensional food service operation which offers everything from catering to cooking classes to culinary tours. Needless to say, David will eat well on his bike odyssey…
Funds gathered by CanadaWide for Cancer will go to The James Fund For Neuroblastoma Research at SickKids.
The James Fund was established at SickKids Foundation by James family to generate knowledge to lead to new therapies for the treatment of patients with neuroblastoma. It has rapidly grown to be Canada’s leading neuroblastoma research initiative. Actor Tom Hanks is its Honorary Patron.
James’ courageous and irrepressible struggle is chronicled in the popular, life-affirming book Ya Can’t Let Cancer Ruin Your Day, a journal of fond, touching and humourous e-mails by Syd Birrell, James’ father, with a foreword by Tom Hanks. The book is available nationwide at Chapters and over the course of the ride will be available at select Home Hardware stores.
David’s ride can be followed on his website - www.cyclingforcancer.ca - which pinpoints each stop in his journey allowing Canadians to know when he’s coming to their town. The site also includes a route guide, featuring a map of Canada with links to daily rides; David’s journal with daily comments; a photo gallery with visual highlights; an e-mail address; recipes from the road a la chef Timothy and an online press room offering photos, event updates, and more.
Corporate sponsors for CanadaWide for Cancer include Home Hardware, Kids Horizons Air Canada, Westins of Canada, Four Points by Sheraton, Sharpe Blackmore Euro RSCG, Sun Media Corporation and The Toronto Sun.
Beautifully designed commemorative metal dog tags, created by Sharpe Blackmore, will be sold in Home Hardware outlets, on the CanadaWide route and through David’s website. David will be visiting select Home Hardware stores on his nationwide journey. Locations and times will be posted on the website.
Putting passion to the peddle and his sight on the goal, David Visschedyk is on the ride of his life. His own battle with cancer won, he’s doing it for Canadian kids who are fighting for their lives now – and a whole nation has the chance to help.
For additional information and/or to arrange for an interview, please contact:
Babble On Communications
Pro Bono Media Counsel, The James Fund/CanadaWide for Cancer
ph (416) 699-1846
Cell: (416) 525-5177