Jocelyn Dickie is participating in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer for the fifth time this year! I interviewed Jocelyn, who is riding in memory of her father who passed away in January 2017. Jocelyn is an enthusiastic and avid cyclist. She shared some valuable fund raising tips for the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, as well as her moving story about her father’s three-year battle with throat cancer. The interview with Jocelyn follows right after the video, which I am sharing to give you an idea of the fun and excitement of the Ride to Conquer Cancer, as well as the commitment of the riders!
Joe: When did you start doing the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting the Alberta Cancer Foundation presented by Evraz? How many have you done?
Jocelyn: My first Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer in Alberta was in 2012. I also rode in the Alberta event in 2014, the BC Ride to Conquer Cancer in 2015 and 2016, and now I’m back to the Albert Ride for 2017. So this will be my third year for the Alberta Ride, but fifth year overall. Last year, I was four-and-a-half months pregnant when I rode – and somehow, I managed to finish!
Joe: That is truly impressive! What is your motivation for doing the Ride year after year?
Jocelyn: Unfortunately I’ve known far too many people who have been affected by cancer. When I first started in 2012, my grandmother, Betty Fleming, was my biggest motivation. She died from leukaemia when I was in 12th grade. She was a wonderful woman, and it was awful watching the effect it had on her and how hard it was on my mother, who I have always been very close with.
Over the years, more and more family friends or friends’ family members have been affected, and it is for them that I ride. I ride in honour of my uncle Ron Dickie, Peter Herold, Bill McEwen, Nancy Thiessen, Brenda Stockley, and Pratt Hetherington. I ride in memory of my nanny Elaine Dickie, Hartwig Rother, Terri Allen, Joe Valcourt, Dan Dixon, Eliza Dixon, Jim Smith, Mike Scharnberg, Ron Johnson, Brenda Kearns, Donnie Langille, Charlotte Flemming, and Keith Avery.
Before the 2014 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, we discovered my father, Jim Dickie, had throat cancer. It was a fluke that they caught it so early, and his treatment plan, several highly targeted radiation treatments, seemed to get it all. Our family was obviously incredibly grateful. Then one year ago, he started having severe pain in his jaw. After several doctor and dentist appointments and lots of tests, we learned the cancer was back. We got the phone call in October 2016 when I was on a road trip down the coast to California with my dad – a trip he does every year and I try to tag along whenever I can.
This time, it was a very aggressive tumour. After a month or so of uncertainty, his doctors thought they had a plan to beat it. He underwent two radiation treatments per day and one chemo treatment per week for seven weeks, finishing just before Christmas 2016. We thought progress was being made (the tumour shrank a bit), but once treatments stopped, it continued to grow and spread to his lungs. My dad started to make plans for hospice care in mid-January, hoping he would be able to hold out until his birthday, March 13, as I was pregnant with my first child, due on February 2, 2017. Unfortunately, he passed away on January 21, 12 days before my son was born. We named him James – after his grandfather.
Though my dad was treated in Washington, I ride in the hopes that research will progress for treatments and that other families won’t have to say goodbye to their fathers too early. I ride so we can hopefully put cancer behind us someday.
Joe: Thank you for sharing that very moving story with us, Jocelyn. Can you tell me, what was your first Ride like? Were you nervous? Excited? Did you finish?
Jocelyn: My first Ride was very wet! It rained so much that year – camp was a giant mud pit. I was very nervous as I hadn’t done much biking before training for the Ride – I wasn’t even on a road bike – I used a Hybrid for my first three Rides! But it’s incredibly inspiring riding among so many people there for a good cause – especially seeing all the riders with yellow flags, identifying cancer survivors, and hearing their stories. And I did finish!
Joe: Three rides on a hybrid – now that is impressive! Even on a road bike, it’s a big achievement to do these Rides. Do you have any kind of support system in friends, family, and work?
Jocelyn: My friends and family are incredibly supportive. I ride as a part of Team RJC – the company I worked for when I first rode. I no longer work for them, but the Riders, especially Captain Roger Steers and his family, have always welcomed, encouraged, and helped me make it through each year. Team RJC is committed to raising funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation, an organization that supports breakthrough cancer research, clinical trials, enhanced care, and the discovery of new cancer therapies at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Cross Cancer Institute, and 15 other centres across Alberta.
Joe: How does your family feel about you doing these Rides? And your friends and colleagues?
Jocelyn: They think it’s great that I do the Rides. Most of my donations are from family and friends – I rarely need to add corporate donations to get me up to the $2,500 minimum. I’m very thankful for their support.
Joe: Do you plan to keep doing these Rides every year?
Jocelyn: Absolutely, and I hope you will all join me! Register and donate by visiting their website or by calling 888-624-2453.
Joe: What city do you live in, and are you able to find good places to train?
Jocelyn: I moved from Calgary to Vernon, BC just over two years ago. I’m still learning new places to train, but I have a couple routes now that I quite enjoy.
Joe: What does your training look like? Do you train all year or just seasonally? Do you train in winter? Do you have training companions, or do you train alone?
Jocelyn: I train seasonally. Last year, I was pregnant and it was difficult to find the energy to train. This year, it’s difficult to find the time away from my now six-months-old son! I have a bike trainer so I can ride at home, but it’s not my favourite. I love group rides, but it’s more difficult since moving to the Okanagan – most my team’s training rides are in Vancouver or Calgary.
Joe: I understand that the Ride organizes group-training events. Do you participate in those, and if so, can you tell us about them?
Jocelyn: I have not participated in any, but I should! There are many open training rides throughout the year hosted by the Ride and various teams in the event. For more information about that, please visit the Ride’s Community Calendar.
Joe: What would you say to encourage people who are thinking of doing the Ride, but are intimidated or nervous?
Jocelyn: You will surprise yourself at what you can be capable of! Training is important, but even if you feel like you haven’t trained enough, there are so many support systems and pit stops along the way, that you can push through. I think the fundraising scares a lot of people off, but I think your friends and family will also surprise you with their support.
Joe: Do you have any fundraising tips to share with readers?
Jocelyn: Update your personal Ride page to reflect your personal story. Use social media a lot! Form a team and fundraise together. We’ve hosted pub nights, silent auctions, BBQ’s outside of grocery stores, etc. Email everyone you know and explain why you’re riding and how the money is used. The Ride has great template emails too.
And then, when the Ride is complete, make sure you thank your donors and share the success of the event. Highlight how they’ve contributed to fundraising for the Alberta Cancer Foundation, and made a positive impact on the lives of people in Alberta and across Canada!
Since 2008, the Ride to Conquer Cancer series, with events in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and BC, has raised over $364 million for cancer research across the country. This community has done so much and we have so much to be grateful for. However, there is still work to be done in the fight to conquer this thing! It’s not to late to join! Once again, the website is here.
Joe: A sincere thank you to Jocelyn for doing this interview, and for all of the great tips she has shared. She really is inspiring. If you would like to support Jocelyn Dickie in her efforts to honour the memory of her father and many other people by combating the scourge of cancer, please check out Jocelyn’s personal fund-raising page here. And if you feel inspired to get out there and do the race, you can find out more here!