Family, friends bike across eastern Ontario to raise money for cancer research

Jordane Verner and his close friends made the trek from Prince Edward County to Kingston on Sunday to raise funds for cancer research. His wife Jillian is his inspiration, he said. She was diagnosed with Stage 3 colorectal cancer in August 2019.

Verner has travelled to the Kingston General Hospital many times before but on Sunday, Verner and friends cycled just over 104 kilometres to get there. Dozens of family and friends cheered as they arrived.

“Today is Jillian’s road based on the journey she’s been through. We wanted to raise money for research and patient care,” said Verner.

Since her diagnosis, the couple has driven to Kingston 30 times for her chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The young mother of two says she initially thought her symptoms were normal as a new mother.

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“A lot of my friends also had the symptoms so it wasn’t a huge concern for me going into the first appointment, so it really rocked our world when we found out,” said Jillian Verner.

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“There’s a lot of additional costs that people aren’t aware of and it breaks my heart that some people aren’t able to pay for their treatments. I learned about that going through this process as you’re sitting in a chemo chair for hours and hours a day.”

Read more: Winnipeg man bikes 701 km for cancer research

The Verner family is hoping the funds raised will assist others like Jillian who are also suffering from cancer.

“We’ve had an immense amount of kindness and support given to us from the hospitals, our family and friends and it just came to a point that I was well enough to pay it forward.”

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Originally, their goal was to raise $18,000 split between three cancer support providers, including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Kingston Health Sciences Centre and the Belleville General Hospital.

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As of Sunday, the Canadian Cancer Society will receive just over $13,000 for cancer research, the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation will receive $7,000.

Read more: Father and daughter fight cancer diagnoses together during coronavirus pandemic

Jillian received treatment from both hospitals, which is why the group stopped at both locations and Hotel Dieu on their journey to Kingston.

But as of Sunday, they surpassed that goal and have raised a total of over $20,000.

“I thought that it was fitting to hit all the hospitals that have provided care and service for us over the last year. Showing tribute to those places just made sense,” said Jordane.

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