Rich Meesters

  • Age: 53 yrs
  • Hometown: Collingwood, On
  • Occupation: Enterprise Architect, Citrix Systems Incorporated
  • Family: Married for 27 years to my wife Janet, two kids Katerina age 19, and Galen age 13.
  • Greatest achievement: Raising two very wonderful kids, healthy and smart. Seeing them grow and achieve their goals
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Rich Meesters

 

Why am I riding from Coast to Coast?

Like many of the national riders, as well as others, childhood cancer has touched my life. My nephew, was diagnosed in 1995, two weeks before his third birthday in April with stage 4 neuroblastoma. Like this opening paragraph, it hit everyone in the family hard. He spent 7 months in and out of Sick Kids in Toronto, with chemotherapy, 3 surgeries to remove tumors, and a bone marrow transplant in November, 1995. He was one of the lucky ones. After that, he spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital as he got sick with things we take for granted, like colds, low blood counts, etc. over the next year and a half. He was ultimately diagnosed in full remission, and has gone on to live a healthy life, approaching his 25th birthday.

I am privileged and honoured to know many on or associated with this ride who are survivors of childhood cancer, or have a child who has suffered the ravages of this terrible disease. Some, not so fortunate, have lost loved ones, and that deeply saddens me. This ride is a very special opportunity for me, and those of you who support me on this journey, to make a difference in the lives of children living with cancer. I’ve been very lucky over the years: lucky to be healthy; lucky to have a wife and two wonderful children who are healthy and un-touched by childhood cancer. For those who have been less fortunate, cancer is a terrible disease for anybody to face with great pain, confusion, loneliness and the awful uncertainty of wondering what the future holds.  Cancer takes away from these children, and their families, the laughter and joy that should be part of every childhood – the good fortune that most of the rest of us got of just being a kid.

I am truly honoured to be part of the SNKCR team and to share the road with a team of cyclists committed to the childhood cancer community. Riding 160 or 220 kms per day for 18 days is a serious commitment to this cause. But this is more than just a bike ride: in addition, every day the other riders and I will be participating in community events focused on raising awareness for childhood cancer. We will also be meeting with children and families affected by cancer to help demonstrate that there are many people who care and want to help. Riding in the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride is a way for me to channel my physical, mental and emotional energy and my passion for cycling into helping children with cancer return to life as regular kids again.

For the past 5 years, and again this year, I will also be participating in the Hero Ride, on behalf of Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation. While this ride pales in comparison to the national ride (125 km a day over two days), it is also for the same good cause, and I am, as always, honoured to be a part of it, as I have every year since its inception.

Your support is welcome and needed —  100% of all donations go directly to the important childhood cancer charities across Canada that SNKCR supports. Please join me in this journey by donating, and following along as I ride.

About Childhood Cancer: The causes of childhood cancers are, in most cases, unknown. The types of cancers that occur in children vary greatly from those seen in adults. They tend to occur in different parts of the body, and they respond differently to treatment. Leukemias, brain and other nervous system tumours, lymphomas (lymph node cancers), bone cancers, soft tissue sarcomas, and adrenal gland cancers are the most common cancers of children. The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride funds research and other programs that improve the lives of children living with cancer. For more information of the Foundation’s work, please visit www.BeyondKidsCancer.com.

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