Survivors, loved ones ride across Canada for childhood cancer

Cyclists stopped in Regina Monday as part of a 17-day marathon ride across Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax, for the Sears National Kid's Cancer Ride.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Ulana Kopystansky is completing her second ride across Canada for children's cancers, after her daughter Taissa died of non-Hodkin's lymphoma in 2001. (Lauren Golosky/CBC)

More than 30 cyclists arrived in Regina Monday afternoon to the sounds of a police escort's siren and thundering engines from a local motorcycle club, . 

It is just one stop of a 17-day marathon ride across Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax, for the Sears National Kid's Cancer Ride.

The cyclists celebrated their milestones among placards of loved ones who lost their battle, survivors, and others impacted by childhood cancers.
The cyclists pose with their police escort and the motor cycle club that escorted them through Regina. (Lauren Golosky/CBC)

It's the second ride across Canada for Ulana Kopystansky, who lost her 13-year-old daughter, Taissa, to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2001. 

She first became a national rider in 2010, after searching for something that would be physically challenging while raising money and awareness for childhood cancers. 

"Cycling across Canada of course is pretty challenging to self and I was never a cyclist prior to that," she said. 

A pact with a cancer survivor she met during her 2010 stop in Calgary led to another Kopystansky participating again this year. 

I draw on her courage when she was going through her treatments and that's what sustains me.- Ulana Kopystansky

The riders are not quite halfway to their endpoint, but Kopystansky says with the gruelling Rocky Mountains now behind them, they're just left to battle the elements, from rain to head winds.

"It's tiring ... it's hard, you remember why you're doing it and you just keep on doing," she said.

"I take a lot of what (Taissa) had ... She was a very tenacious little girl and I draw on her courage when she was going through her treatments and that's what sustains me."

The riders are set to arrive in Halifax on Sept. 27.

The National Kid's Cancer Ride is on its eighth year. Funds raised go towards childhood oncology programs. 

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