2006: “It’s OTMH calling. We have your son’s scan results and the doctor would like you both to come back to the hospital to go over them. Bring a bag with clothes as we are probably going to send you by ambulance to Sick Kids tonight for more testing.”
My whole body shook. My just 6 year old son (now 21) had a brain scan that afternoon as he had been vomiting, falling, and having wicked headaches for months. We had gone through numerous medical visits – testing, ultrasounds, eyes….It was the optometrist who bumped up the date for the C-scan. This was no longer just a precaution as she had noticed an abnormal swelling behind his optic nerve and contacted our GP. And now, while standing in the parking lot of our local grocery store, while listening to the nurse, my head was spinning. I was speechless.
Forty-eight hours later, I walked my son to surgery to have his brain tumour removed. Two days after that, a scan showed that the tumour at the base of his cerebellum had been completely removed. SickKids Toronto saved his life.
2022: This winter, I had the opportunity to join Cycle Burlington and Burlington Dads to raise money for the SickKids Foundation and Kids Cancer Research. How could I not get involved with something so important – and one that lets me put one of my favorite activities to great use? How could I not pay it forward for other families who, like my own, need the support of SickKids and its research? So I registered for the Great Cycle Challenge Canada and set the lofty goals of riding 1000 kilometres in August and raising $1000.00 I felt both goals were achievable but I would have to work to reach them. Thanks to the thoughtfulness and generosity of family, friends and strangers, I have already met my fundraising goal. And while I am still fundraising, my distance goal is now my challenge as my highest cycling month ever was last July, when I rode just over 1000 km. Based on how my training is going, I am on track for 1000 km the August. Ideally, though, I would like to keep with the kilometre per dollar raised ratio, which means that I will be aiming to ride more than 1000 km in 31 days. I am excited and nervous at the same time, and I am so happy to be giving back to such a great cause.
And, in case you are wondering, Robert, my now 21 year old, is doing just fine. He spent years as an outpatient at SickKids Toronto, where his brain and vision were both closely monitored. At 16 years, he was cleared. This spring, Robert graduated from university and will spend the next school year working towards a Masters in Kinesiology. I could not be any prouder. He is the reason I ride. He is my drive in paying it forward.