ST. PAUL - Sue deMoissac has been pedaling her way along St. Paul streets during the month of August as she continues in her journey to do what she can to raise funds to fight kids’ cancer. She has taken on the Great Cycle Challenge for the sixth year in a row despite having battled through a knee replacement earlier this year and painful sciatica.
She says her focus is always on the children who are in the fight of their lives against a deadly disease.
Close to 20,000 riders from across Canada are participating in this year’s challenge and together they’ve logged over 2.7 million km and raised in excess of $8.4 million so far this month. Since its inception in 2016, the national event has raised almost $22 million for research to develop treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer.
DeMoissac began riding a bicycle for exercise because walking hurt, and so she became involved in the Great Cycle Challenge as way to combine her new interest in cycling while helping raise funds for a cause close to her heart.
“I realized I knew four kids that went through cancer,” she said, adding the first year, 2016, was a learning one for her as she was unsure as to how many kilometers she could achieve and how much money she could raise.
“I’d never done this before, so I said, well, if I ride 10 km 20 days out the month, allowing for bad weather and all of that, I should be able to do that and I did.”
In the following years, deMoissac said she worked to increase the distance and her fund-raising goal annually and overall since 2016 has logged 2,751 km and raised just over $22,000, numbers that change daily as the month-long event continues.
Her participation in this year’s challenge was up in the air. Knee surgery in May and a delayed start on physiotherapy made her think she’d have to sit this one out. But she persevered and with a “great physiotherapist who knew how much I wanted to ride,” deMoissac said she was able to continue her journey. By Sunday, she had pedaled her way along 502 km, exceeding her 500-km goal and raised $6,630.
She tries to ride seven days a week during the month-long event and sometimes twice a day. Her husband, Pierre, will sometimes join her for an evening ride.
“This year when it looked like I wouldn’t be able to ride, he said ‘I’ll ride for you but I’m not doing no 600 km.’ I also had a friend who said she’d be willing to ride for me too.”
She averages about 15 km a day, depending on weather and whoever decides to join her on a ride on any given day, including two young granddaughters. The distance can vary, physical pain and the weather can at times be challenging but her determination never waivers – for deMoissac it is about the children and the difference she can make as one person.
Anyone interested in supporting deMoissac’s efforts can find her on the Great Cycle Challenge website at greatcyclechallenge.ca