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Richmond cyclists riding to raise awareness for incurable blood cancer

The inaugural Bike to Beat Myeloma fundraiser will take place on Sunday, May 15 in Steveston.
Mark Mackenzie is a myeloma patient in complete remission, and he will be participating in Bike to Beat Myeloma next week.

Next Sunday morning, cyclists will gather at the Britannia Shipyards in Steveston to raise funds for myeloma research. 

The Richmond Bike to Beat Myeloma is one of three fundraisers held across the country. Richmond was the ideal location not just because of its central location, but also because it provides many safe, scenic, and flat cycling options, explained William Paine, the lead event organizer in Richmond. 

With just a little more than a week until the event, participants have already exceeded the fundraising goal by around 58 per cent. 

“We’re just thrilled. And we’re hoping that with the next 10 days before the race we’ll get more people [to participate], so we’re absolutely thrilled to have the results that we’re having,” said Paine. 

Paine is a board member of Myeloma Canada, and his wife is a 10-year myeloma survivor in deep remission. Their friends and family are planning to support the cause by riding as Team Yolande. 

Like the Paines, B.C. mariner Mark Mackenzie is also helping out with the Richmond fundraiser to give back to the community. 

Mackenzie was diagnosed with myeloma in early 2021, after suffering from months of pain in his ribs. He started chemotherapy immediately and received a stem cell transplant later in the year. 

“This time last year I was thinking that I might not get to ride my bike, I might not get to lift up my grandchild, I might not get to be hiking up in the bush or snowshoeing,” said Mackenzie in the event’s press release. 

“I’m in complete remission and I feel incredibly lucky, but I’m going to be watching for myeloma for the rest of my life. Hopefully something else happens in the way of a cure before it comes back,” he added. 

Myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer, and approximately 10 Canadians are diagnosed with it every day. It affects plasma cells found in bone marrow, and it is a relatively unknown disease with no cure. 

Funds raised from the event will be used to support research goals set by Myeloma Canada’s Priority Setting Partnership, an initiative dedicated to identifying research priorities for people living with myeloma, their caregivers, and healthcare professionals. 

The Richmond Bike to Beat Myeloma is open to cyclists of varying levels, with two available routes. Cyclists can choose a leisurely 33 km return route to Iona Beach, or a more challenging 70 km loop through Westwater Drive to Queensborough. 

Participants can sign up individually or in teams, and they can enjoy some friendly rivalry during the event.