Steven Merker, Vice President of Corporate and Community Partnerships, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, addresses riders at Toronto's Exhibition Place on Saturday morning as they prepare to set out on the two-day, 200-kilometre Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. (Photo: The PMCF)

More than 3,000 cyclists of all abilities took part in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer – Canada's largest cycling event fundraiser this past weekend. Returning to an in-person event after two virtual years, the epic event comes at a critical time as cancer diagnoses are expected to rise significantly post-pandemic.

Riders are united by a common goal: to Conquer Cancer In Our Lifetime by raising funds to support breakthrough research at UHN's Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

The riders set out from Toronto's Exhibition Place Saturday morning for the two-day, 200-plus-kilometre ride to Hamilton and Niagara, raising $16.37 million for vital cancer research.

To celebrate The Ride's 15-year anniversary, cancer experts and world-renowned cancer specialists and researchers from the Princess Margaret served as Honourary Chairs. They included: registered nurse Sabrina Bennett and Drs. Neil Fleshner, Jonathan Irish, Girish Kulkarni, Fei-Fei Liu, Andrea McNiven and Christopher Paige.

"The Ride connects communities of people who have either experienced or are facing cancer, their families, cyclists, and proud supporters who rally together to honour everyone touched by a disease that two in five Canadians will face in their lifetime," says Steve Merker, Vice President of Corporate and Community Partnerships, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

Thirteen years ago, cycling enthusiast and 10-year Ride participant Tim Hockey established the cycling club, Les Domestiques, combining his passion for cycling and commitment to give back to the community. This year, fundraising to support the Princess Margaret has taken on new meaning for Tim and his teammates: his wife is currently receiving treatment at the Princess Margaret for pancreatic cancer. He feels a deeply personal connection to The Ride.

'The last couple years have shown us the power of scientific research'

Raising a remarkable $250-plus million since 2008, The Ride is helping to change what we know about cancer. These funds support innovative research led by the world-renowned researchers at the Princess Margaret – Canada's largest centre dedicated to cancer research and one of the world's top five cancer research centres.

"From advancing our understanding of the biology behind cancer, to the development of less toxic and more personalized treatments, to making headway in the field of early detection, researchers at the Princess Margaret are making breakthrough discoveries that will improve patient outcomes in Canada and around the world," says Dr. Miyo Yamashita, President and CEO, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. "The last couple of years have shown us the power of scientific research and what we can accomplish with focus and resources.

"Thanks to the funds raised by The Ride community, our dedicated researchers continue to forge new paths in cancer research."

Steve, also known as the Chief Cycling Officer and co-founder of The Ride, adds, "No matter how you are involved, whether it's by jumping on your bike to take part in The Ride or cheering riders on as they make their way to the finish line, it's a special and meaningful day for everyone."

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