The Foundation has a long tradition of honouring children who haven’t survived cancer. We very much wanted to continue that important tradition. During Breakaway, every week will be dedicated to a different child to remind us to always ride with purpose.
Week 1: Finn Sullivan
Born in 2005, Finn was one-minute younger than his twin brother Baird, and three years younger than his sister Sarah. From early days, Finn was a sweet, rambunctious, serious, active boy. In 2007 at only 20 months the family received devastating news when Finn was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft-tissue cancer. Despite the pain and discomfort of a long treatment and eventually the addition of a pee bag, Finn continued to run, jump, bounce, dance, sing, smile, ride, and love every chance he got. On October 9, 2008, cancer took Finn’s life – but it would never take his spirit. Team Finn will ride in pink and eat ice cream from the bottom of the cone, just as Finn would want it.
Week 2: Adam Fedosoff
Adam was always known for his athleticism, first as a talented young hockey player and later, after his cancer diagnosis, as a cyclist and an important member of the Coast to Coast community. Diagnosed with High Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2007, Adam had a long and painful treatment, with three relapses and chronic Graft vs Host Disease that caused many complications until his death in 2012. Before his death, Adam rode in two Tour for Kids and became a powerful advocate for other children who were dealing with cancer. He is remembered by his powerful words, “If you don’t fight the fights you cannot win, how can you call yourself a champion?” Thank you Adam. This week, we ride for you.
Week 3: Keon Richards
For our week three dedication, we'd like you to Breakaway in memory of Keon Richards. Wise beyond his years, Keon is described by his mother Sharon as an old soul. He had a natural athletic ability and loved all sports, but adored soccer. One day after a game, Keon experienced pain on his right side and down his leg. His concerned parents worked hard to get to the bottom of his pain, and Keon was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. Keon impressed everyone with his tenacity and maturity while in treatment, but sadly died before reaching his tenth birthday. Incredibly missed by his brothers, his brother Kareem shares, “I continue to be inspired by Keon's life and character everyday. He is always with me. I am elated to know that my brother has touched so many people.“ Keon, we promise to hit the road with the same tenacity and force you had for life. This week, we ride for you.
Week 4: Alex Pace
Alex was a very loving, wise, sweet, caring child who took on a love of books and learning from a very young age. He felt things deeply and could laugh and cry with the best of them. The family cottage was his favourite place in the world. In March 2007 at age 10, Alex began feeling a great deal of pain in his left thigh. Following a battery of tests, Alex’s family was delivered a devastating blow – Alex had osteosarcoma, bone cancer. Alex began an aggressive chemotherapy protocol as well as two very invasive surgeries. He faced these challenges with grace and maturity, not once complaining. In the summer of 2008, Alex enjoyed time at the cottage, with thoughts that the worst was behind him. In November 2008 this all changed as Alex developed AML (a form of leukemia) as a result of his treatments. He was now faced with 2 terminal illnesses. Alex passed away on February 12, 2009, weeks shy of his 12th birthday. In his short life, he taught everyone around him about courage, determination and his ability to stay focused, connected, simple yet magnificent; he left his loved ones in awe.
Week 5: Rebecca Schofield
Rebecca Schofield was a typical New Brunswick teenager who loved to watch hockey, play ringette, read and cook. After her diagnosis of terminal brain cancer, she decided to look for the positive in every day. Her mantra was, "I will focus on what I can control letting go of what I can't." When she learned she only had months to live, she asked her friends on Facebook to commit random acts of kindness and to use the tag #beccatoldmeto so she could follow them. It quickly went viral around the world, with Rebecca’s kindness reaching people in 94 countries, as far away as Australia. In 2017, Rebecca met the National Kids Cancer Ride as they rode into New Brunswick. Her energy and positive attitude is still spoken of by many of the riders to this day, who say they will never forget her. Rebecca died in February 2018, but her kindness and positive attitude lives on in the #beccatoldmeto hashtag.
Week 6: Briony Fast
Briony was a vibrant, red headed 16-year-old who loved practical jokes. She was the organizer of events and even though she was the middle daughter, she always seemed to be the one trying to be in charge. In July 2006, Briony showed signs that something wasn’t right. She was dizzy all the time and she had mood swings that were not constant with her personality. It took 6 months, until they received devastating news, Briony had a brain tumour. She underwent 42 days of radiation with chemotherapy in hopes of shrinking the tumor and developed an allergy to ondansetron, an anti-nausea drug, that began to deteriorate her organs. She never lost her sense of humour, often playing jokes on the nurses and doctors. She would help younger children on the unit, as she felt that they were given a rough road. Dressing up for Halloween and going door to door, reverse Treat or Treating, so the little ones who were too sick could have treats too. In the summer of 2008, she went off treatment as the protocol was too hard on her body. The choice to stop treatment and give her back some normal was made. That summer the family went on her wish trip to Australia, a place she had always wanted to go. February 14, 2009, Briony passed away quietly at home with her family and puppy around her.
Week 7: Ty Sparks
Ty had a smile that could light up a room. He adored his younger sister Tanaya and loved to make his friends and family laugh. In January 2009, Ty and his family learned his sore throat and swollen glands was not mono as they had originally thought, devastatingly it was Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Thirteen-year-old Ty’s blood stream was 90 percent cancer cells and would require a high dose chemotherapy protocol, that would take Ty to the brink of death 5 times over the next 6 months. The chemo destroyed cells in his bone marrow and kept him mostly in isolation. Ty deeply missed his friends and his old life. Happily, in July of 2009, Ty was declared cancer free and was thrilled to return to school that fall. One year later in June 2010, Ty’s cancer returned. Chemo was no longer an option and a bone marrow transplant was Ty’s only hope. Finding a donor would be difficult because Ty was multiracial, his dad was Black and his mom was white. The chances of finding a 100% match were less than 5%. Although not perfect, matches were found and a dual cord blood transplant was received September 17, 2010. The transplant was a success, but after that everything that could go wrong did. Ty was cancer free but he had many infections, both viral and bacterial, and in March 2011, graft versus host disease begin attacking his skin, eyes, mouth, and lungs. Perplexed doctors did everything they could to save him, but sadly Ty went to Heaven on September 10, 2012. Ty’s legacy is his hope for two things; first – the gold ribbon be as readily recognized as the pink; and second – no child suffer the way he did.
Born on July 25, 2003, Emma was a perfect daughter, wonderful sister, and great friend. She loved all sports, but her biggest passion was gymnastics where she excelled and competed at a provincial level. When Emma was 12 years old in 2016, she noticed a mysterious pain in her right knee. Her family was devastated to learn that she had the same cancer as Terry Fox, osteosarcoma, in her femur bone that had also spread to her lungs. After nine months of the same intense and painful high dose chemotherapy that Terry Fox received, Emma had her leg amputated and two other major surgeries to remove the metastasis from her lungs. She was cancer-free and determined to live life to it’s fullest, including returning to gymnastics with her new prosthetic leg. Almost one year later, Emma and her family received another devastating blow. Her cancer was back in her lungs. She had two more major surgeries to remove the spots and was able to return to the gym in January 2018. During this time, Emma became a passionate advocate for childhood cancer, taking any opportunity to speak and advocate for the Gold Ribbon. In the fall of 2018, Emma’s cancer returned a third time and she was out of treatment options. True to her lifelong determination to make the most out of every day, Emma accepted an invitation for Romania’s Got Talent, where she took the opportunity to spread awareness for childhood cancer. Emma didn’t want to be remembered as the girl who had cancer, but rather the gymnast who did flips and tricks with her prosthetic leg. “The only disability in life is a bad attitude,” was Emma’s favourite expression. Emma and her family shared a magical Disney Cruise together in December 2018, before Emma transitioned to Heaven on April 7, 2019.
Week 9: Japji Bhullar
Japji Bhullar was born on February 28, 2000. She was a happy and active teenager who loved sports, and especially basketball, soccer, and swimming. Working towards her lifeguard certification, Japji was heading to her lifeguard exam on the day that her cancer was found. She was devasted to learn that the pain in her knee was not from a fall at basketball, but rather was a symptom of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Because of a chromosomal abnormality, Japji’s cancer proved difficult to treat. She relapsed multiple times and her treatment included chemotherapy, Car-T Cell Therapy (then still in early phase clinical trial), two drugs that were still in the clinical stage for adult cancer, and a bone marrow transplant. The two drugs Japji received had never been given to someone of Japji’s age before. Her family and doctors were thrilled when her cancer responded to the second drug and put her into remission so that she could receive a bone marrow transplant, with her younger sister Punjeet as her donor. Japji was cancer-free again and returned to her life and school. Japji became a passionate advocate for other kids with cancer, including a Childhood Cancer Canada head-shave at the University of Ottawa in 2017. Advocacy was important to Japji, because she wanted people to understand how difficult it was for a child and their family to go through childhood cancer and she hoped that by raising awareness, more funding would lead to better treatments for kids like herself. Sadly, Japji’s cancer returned in the fall of 2017, and she died on her 18th birthday on February 28, 2018.