Gavin O'Driscol

Cancer survivor asks others to help in the Race for Life

Gavin has been racing in the Ride for Life for seven years, but this year will different after watching his friend live with cancer.

Brett Cunard knows first-hand what it’s like to be treated at B.C. Children’s Hospital for cancer.

Now he and the rest of BMX crew are raising money to help other kids with the disease.  Greater Victoria BMX is hosting its annual Race for Life event, Aug. 10 at West Shore Parks and Recreation. BMX clubs across the country host the races and donate the money to children’s hospitals to be used specifically for children with cancer.

Brett was diagnosed with cancer  Feb. 5, 2013 and went through aggressive treatments for months.

“I don’t like going to the hospital. Kids with cancer probably get more needs in six months than an adult does in a lifetime,” Brett said.

Brett was able to remain an out patient during his treatment, but he saw kids at the hospital who weren’t as lucky as him.

“The sad part was having to go upstairs and seeing the kids with the terminal cancer,” said Brett. “I also saw kids getting blood transfusions and it was really sad.”

The 12-year-old Langford boy was told he was in remission from non-Hodgkins lymphoma just two months ago. His hair is starting to grow back and he can get back to enjoying himself.

“Now I can play hockey and ride my bike,” Brett said. “I had to watch all my friends play and it was boring, I couldn’t even go on a trampoline.”

Even though he’s in remission a port for chemotherapy is still in his chest, a reminder of the tough year he’s had. The port has to be flushed at the hospital every month and he is waiting for it to be removed.

Brett is still making trips to B.C. Children’s Hospital for X-rays, check ups and blood work. He will be monitored every three months for the first year to ensure the cancer is gone.

“I never though it would hit home,” said Brett’s mom Sarah Cunard. “I’ve been to children’s hospital and I’ve seen what they do. It’s been a huge weight off my shoulders. I am always going to worry about him for the rest of his life.”

Now The Ride for Life event has new meaning for Brett. He has been riding BMX for six years now and his favourite part is clearing jumps.

“It’s really awesome the club is doing this,” Brett said. “I couldn’t have done it without the help of the community (when I had cancer).”

Throughout his treatment Brett had friends who shaved their heads in solidarity, including his good friend Gavin O’Driscoll.

Gavin will be riding at BMX track raising money to help other kids like Brett.

Gavin has been racing in the Ride for Life for seven years, but this year will different after watching his friend live with cancer.

“Having a friend with cancer is pretty scary, but I know he would make it though. He makes it through everything, he can get a rock in the face and not cry,” Gavin said.

This year racing will be occurring on the BMX track and ramps and jumps will be set up in the velodrome where riders can land into an airbag.

Greater Victoria BMX’s Race for Life is on Aug. 10. Registration is from 10 to 11 a.m. and racing run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  About 100 riders are expected to come out. New riders are welcome to come and participate. The club is hoping to raise more than $5,000.

Last year BMX clubs from across the province raised $39,000 together.

“I’d like to see us beat that and make more than $40,000,” said Kathleen Church of Greater Victoria BMX. “It’s different this time. We saw all support Brett got and every child deserves that.”

To donate to for the fundraiser email bmxvictoria@gmail.com

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