Riding towards a cure
Emily Gill has watched one of her best friends battle cancer and wants to be part of the cure for the deadly disease.
The 17-year-old Barrie Central Collegiate student will be among more than 20 students - and a couple of Barrie firefighters and Royal Victoria Hospital staff - taking part in The Inside Ride on Tuesday at Innisdale Secondary School.
Proceeds from the event, which sees participants ride a stationary bike for nearly two hours, will go to the Coast to Coast Cancer Against Cancer Foundation, Canada's only national charity devoted to fighting childhood cancer.
Gill was inspired to help organize the event when her friend, 16-year-old Innisdale Secondary School student Adam Fedosoff, contracted cancer.
He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in May 2007 and it's been five months now since he had a bone marrow transplant.
His first round of treatment included 10 months of heavy chemotherapy when he lost his hair and much of his energy.
Now he looks like every other energetic teen, although he knows his battle may not be over just yet.
"You are not considered a survivor until you are cancer-free for five years," he said, Sunday, while sitting with Gill and their friend, and 15-year-old Innisdale student Kealey Clarke.
He's appreciative of what his friends are doing by taking part in The Inside Ride, and how they have supported him throughout his treatment.
"They've done a lot of work to put it together. Cancer is a mental game and you have to keep your spirits up," he said.
Clarke, whose mother Tracey Keighley-Clarke is senior director of the cancer care program at RVH, said knowing what Fedosoff was going through was difficult.
"As a teenager, it's really hard watching your friend go through something they don't deserve," she said.
Gill said cancer isn't always for the elderly or people who put themselves at risk.
"When you think of cancer, you don't think of it happening to kids. Sometimes it just happens," she said, adding their friend knew they were there for him.
"We knew (taking part in The Inside Ride) would make Adam smile," she said.
Central and Innisdale high school students, Algonquin Ridge Elementary School students and some Barrie firefighters - along with RVH staff riding two stationary racing bikes in the RVH cafeteria - will be taking part on Tuesday.
"We wanted to work together and make it a community thing," Gill said. "Innisdale Secondary School was nice enough to give us a chance to let us participate. We've met our goal of $7,500 and hope to raise $8,000."
Watching someone fight cancer involves different emotions, she said.
"You feel helpless to help them, but once you choose hope, anything is possible."