Cancer research a ride-on cause

Cancer survivor Brook Miller poses with some of the items donated for a community garage sale happening tomorrow (April 30) in her North Henderson neighbourhood. Proceeds from the sale will go toward the B.C. Cancer Agency’s research efforts.

Before she was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, Brooke Miller was a triathlete and active cyclist.

After she underwent surgery two years ago, competing in triathlons fell by the wayside. Cycling, however, did not.

Miller, 49, began training in January for a 260-kilometre fundraising ride that will take her from South Surrey to Seattle this spring.

The idea came to her after she finished treatment, after which she has remained cancer-free.

But with several family members and friends either dealing with cancer or succumbing to the disease, she wanted to raise funds for more research.

“I saw this ride and thought it’s something I can do,” she says in her North Henderson home.

Three times a week for the past four months, she and three other members of her team – they call themselves Breast Friends – go on long rides to Sooke or Sidney or do hill training up Foul Bay Road. Miller says she hasn’t found the training difficult at all.

The team aims to collect at least $10,000. Funds raised from the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, which raised $9.2 million last year, will go to the B.C. Cancer Foundation for its research arm, the B.C. Cancer Agency.

Miller’s team is one of 360 registered to take part in the two-day ride, June 18 and 19.

Rather than just take pledges, she and her partner, Nancy Barbour, are hosting a neighbourhood garage sale.

Miller, who is a real estate agent, thought of the idea when some clients asked her about getting rid of some household items.

“I thought ‘well, we could just sell that, we could have a garage sale.’ But then we thought ‘why not have a whole street or a whole neighbourhood garage sale?’”

She and two other organizers talked to 200 neighbours this month to drum up interest in the sale, which happens tomorrow (April 30).

“(Doorknocking) felt awkward at first, but people are so kind and the reason is everyone is affected (by cancer). Maybe not themselves, but they’ve got a brother, sister, aunt or uncle – no one is exempt,” she says.

A friend offered to make signs, a rental company donated use of tables and Oak Bay council gave permission for Avondale Road to be closed off for the block-long event, provided that sales occur on private property and not on the street.

“It’s been a great neighbourhood-building experience,” Miller says.

When she and Barbour moved to Avondale from Fairfield, they didn’t have a chance to meet neighbours because of Miller’s illness.

“But now when I knock on a door people are so happy,” she says. “They say ‘I wondered who lived there’ and ‘We’d love to participate.’”

To donate to Miller’s team or the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, go to http://va11.conquer   cancer.ca.

vmoreau@oakbaynews.com

Ride-on fundraiser

What: Neighbourhood garage sale

Where: 2000-block of Avondale Road

Why: Fundraiser for Brooke Miller/Enbridge Ride for Cancer benefitting the B.C. Cancer Foundation

When: Saturday, April 30, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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