All over the world, people are fighting back against cancer. Some are fighting back on their bikes! Michelle Sirio was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was 36. After 22 cycles of chemotherapy, Michelle is now celebrating nine years cancer free.
Since she was diagnosed, Michelle has been determined to raise funds to conquer cancer in our lifetime. She started in 2008 by registering for the first annual Ride to Conquer Cancer in Toronto. For this ride she had to cycle 200 km over two days from Toronto to Niagara Falls. Since then, she has participated in every Ontario event, cycled in the Quebec Ride in 2013, completed the Alberta Ride in 2014, and hopes to celebrate 10 years as a survivor in 2016 by cycling 200 km from Vancouver to Seattle in the BC Ride.
Since 2008, The Ride to Conquer Cancer in Canada has raised over $262 million for cancer research in Canada, changing the future of the disease locally and all over the world.
Every year, Michelle has participated not only for herself, but also for others diagnosed with cancer. In 2014, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. After 16 cycles of radiation treatment, her mom is now a survivor too! Michelle credits effective treatment, as a result of successful research, for her mom’s win against cancer, and says more people should get involved in The Ride to Conquer Cancer so there can be more survivors.
Interview with Cancer Survivor and Ride to Conquer Cancer Cyclist, Michelle Sirio
I spoke to Michelle about her amazing story.
Joe: Could you tell me about your training?
Michelle: It is tough in the winter in Ontario. I just do spin bike and speed walking for cardio during the winter. I just make the best of it. I live in Mississauga and this winter has been very, very cold. I use the escarpment for training. Once I start training I will do 25 km, two times a week for about 2 to 3 weeks. Then once my energy is back up, I do up to 50 to 70 km per ride. Then I add in some intervals. If you can do 80 km you can do the ride – it’s all in building up the cardio and conditioning the legs.
Joe: So do you always prepare carefully for rides?
Michelle: Yes, usually I do, but not for the Calgary ride last year, I was unprepared for the mountain climbing. Next time I will try my best to prepare for mountain climbing especially for the Vancouver ride in 2016.
Joe: Lots of mountains! Do some people get off and push?
Michelle: Yes, some people get off and push – it’s not a race, it’s fund raising for a cause – and it’s all about accomplishing it.
Joe: What was your first charity ride?
Michelle: The Brampton-Waterloo MS ride – I did it with the Royal Bank team, and they wait for you to catch up. It was 150 km – all escarpment. Waiting for the Start I was thinking, “I don’t want to do this!” But as soon as they say “Go!” you’re on your bike and that feeling just goes away – and during the ride you have this huge sense of accomplishment. The people that are out there cheering for you are the driving force … and when you finish the ride you want to do it again!”
Joe: I understand you need to do a lot of fund-raising to participate in the Ride to Conquer Cancer?
Michelle: Yes, that is the most discouraging part for some people if they don’t raise enough – you can’t ride, but you can volunteer. I feel bad for them because they want to do this ride because cancer has hit them a lot.
Joe: I understand that you ride for the Royal Bank team. Do they help with fund-raising?
Michelle: Yes, the Royal Bank supports us in our fund raising … and if one of the members is struggling they will help with the last bit.
Joe: What would you say to someone who would like to do the Ride to Conquer Cancer but is afraid because it seems too far?
Michelle: It’s reasonable to be afraid – it’s 226.4 km after all!
Joe: What is your motivation to do all these rides?
Michelle: All the support from the onlookers and my family is great. And every year I am very motivated by the people who sponsor me. Fund raising is my main motivation. My motivation is to raise the funds to beat cancer and help other people survive it. It probably won’t be in my lifetime. But treatment over the last decades has got better and better and much less brutal.
Joe: Are you completely healthy now?
Michelle: I am 10 years cancer free next year! To celebrate I want to do the Ride to Conquer Cancer in Ontario, Quebec, and BC.
Way to go Michelle!
Join the Ride to Conquer Cancer!
The 2015 Enbridge® Ride to Conquer Cancer® is an epic, two-day cycling event spanning over 200 km through Ontario’s picturesque countryside. Sure, it sounds like a lot — and it’s meant to be. But make no mistake, this event isn’t just for athletes or cycling enthusiasts. The Ride is for anyone who wants to challenge themselves for a great cause. All you need is motivation, a bike and a helmet. Join in on June 13-14, 2015 for the Ride of your life!
For more information about this ride and other Ride to Conquer Cancer events in your area, click here, or call 1-877-699-BIKE (2453).
For ideas about other charity rides, see Are You Thinking of Doing a Charity Ride?
For information on how to start getting in shape for the ride of your life, see Average Joe Cyclist’s Beginner Cyclist Training Plan and Monitor Your Exercise Intensity with a Heart Rate Monitor to Get Fit.
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