By James Lord
Vice President, Gas Distribution Law, and Team Enbridge Captain for the 2016 Ontario ERTCC
In my three years as Team Enbridge captain for the Ontario leg of the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, I have come to understand some basic truths about cancer and our relationship to it as a diverse, modern society.
First, none of us needs to look very far to see cancer’s impact. Experts can tell us the statistics, but we know it already from experience. I have drawn inspiration for my own efforts to support the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre this year from two heroic women.
The Enbridge family said goodbye this past year to our dear friend and colleague Janet Holder. Regarded by many as one of the strongest people we knew in every sense of the word, Janet tackled the toughest challenges with energy that others could only aspire to.
Even in some of the hardest days of her battle with cancer, Janet continued to inspire us all and own her story, through her warm-hearted blog that maintained a connection with her community of supporters. We will remember and honor Janet at the opening ceremonies of this year’s Ride, and with every pedal stroke we make along the road.
This weekend, during the 2016 Ontario Ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls, I am also drawing inspiration from my friend and neighbor Angie, a survivor. Angie bought her first road bike last year. After riding with Team Enbridge in 2015, Angie was signed up for this year’s ride before she’d left the finish line in Niagara Falls.
Then, this past winter, Angie unexpectedly found herself waging the second battle with cancer of her young life. Witnessing Angie’s stoic optimism and extraordinary resilience through her very serious treatment has filled me with admiration and motivated my own efforts for the Ride. I can’t wait to see Angie back on the road.
Another basic truth I have come to understand is that we are well along the road to success in our quest to conquer cancer, but each step takes a huge collective effort. Dr. Jonathan Irish, Head of Surgical Oncology at the Princess Margaret, understands this better than most—and expressed it wonderfully at our recent Ride event, when he tied his comments about the effort to end cancer with our own Enbridge message that “life takes energy.”
In my time as captain, I have learned about the dedication and ingenuity of research teams like those led by Dr. Irish, who devote their working lives to the quest. The support these brilliant people need from the rest of us is crucial for the breakthroughs in detection, treatment and care, which do not come cheaply in either dollars or effort. While we can’t all be leading cancer researchers, we can earn assists in support through investing our time and energy to their cause.
Over the past three years, I have seen our Enbridge employees, family and friends collectively deliver nearly $1.2 million to the fight against cancer through the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer in Ontario.
There are literally thousands of volunteer hours behind that number, both to support the Ride campaign and to support the event on Ride weekend.
It will most certainly take energy to end cancer in our lifetime. Our 117 riders, and over 150 Team Enbridge volunteers, are fully committed to conquering cancer—together.