Cycling enthusiast pedals over 900 kilometres for kids with cancer

By: Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,
Regardless of the weather during the month of August, Yves Viel would try to go out and ride his bike to help children with cancer.
Viel took part in the Great Cycle Challenge Canada, where people of all ages and fitness levels pedal to achieve their riding goal throughout August and raise money for SickKids Foundation to help fight kids’ cancer.
Viel surpassed his goal of achieving 600 kilometres within the first two weeks. He ended up cycling 902 kilometres and raising $4,393.
“I tried to go every day that I was capable of going to ride whether it was nice or not outside,” he said. “My mentality was, ‘These kids don’t pick when they fight cancer. Why should I get to pick when I should ride?’”
He rode for his father, who’s a prostate cancer survivor.
“Out of my family, he’s the only one who has had cancer. And now he suffers from dementia,” Viel explained. “They ask if you want to ride for someone and I ride for my dad.”
He cycled around Timmins using a mountain bike and a road bike and tracking his rides through the Strava app. He also handed out business cards with a QR code, which would take people to Viel’s fundraising page.
“This year, the weather was nice. And the scenery has been nice to watch. As I’m riding, I get to observe and feel more in-depth with nature,” Viel said.
Every time he went for a ride, he would bring coffee and food with him, regardless of how long the ride would be. He would always make a stop to sit down, have a cup of coffee and a little snack before turning around and going back.
Viel registered for the challenge as a member of O’Reilly SFS team. The 10-member team has raised over $10,700.
“It’s not about the money,” he said. “It’s about the comfort knowing your mom and dad can be there with you or something like that. Hopefully, in the end, they can find the cure for leukemia and all other sorts of cancer that are out there.”
On some days, Viel logged over 100 kilometres. When you get to 75-80 kilometres, it starts becoming mentally challenging, Viel said.
“You have to tell yourself, ‘OK, shut up legs, you’re going to keep going and we’re going to get through this.’ Because you do get tired, you get exhaustion, you get the wind that’s not in your favour as well,” he said. “The struggle is real.”
This was Viel’s third time participating in the challenge. In the first year, he rode 300 kilometres raising just over $2,500. In the second year, he raised about $1,800.
Donations for his fundraiser this year came from community members, organizations and businesses, including Rehab Plus, Girones Lawyers, Club Richelieu – Les Perles du Nord, National Bank, Viel Auto Body.
“Every time, somebody does a donation, it sends me a notification. So, I’ve personally replied to every single donation thanking them for their support,” Viel said. “If it weren’t for everybody supporting, these kids’ lives would be of a greater shamble.”
Les Perles du Nord donated $250 to Viel’s fundraiser.
“We donated because it’s for sick kids. Most of our donations, we always try to give towards children,” said the club’s president Michelle Couture.