Maple Ridge resident D'Arcy Balla will join more than 100 Team Finn cyclists on the Ride to Conquer Cancer from Surrey to Redmond, Wash. to add to the $1.4 million already raised in memory of Finn Sullivan.
Balla is riding for the third year in a row and this year he will take part in the more challenging ride of 340 kilometres, while some riders are choosing to go the traditional route of 240 kilometres.
The ride launches on June 16 at 7 a.m. from Fraser Downs in Cloverdale, and Balla is looking forward to his family, TIMES sales manager Shannon Balla, and their twins Davis and Lauren, waiting for him in Redmond, Wash. when he arrives on Father's Day around 3 p.m.
Balla has been training 10 to 12 hours per week since January with other members of Team Finn, which he described as a "very, very close group."
"They have a common goal and that common goal is to find a cure for cancer," Balla said.
The father of Finn, Patrick Sullivan, is a "captivating individual," Balla said, whose drive to find a cure for cancer is unparalleled, inspiring other people to get involved.
"I'm trying to change the story and trying to make a difference," he said. "It's just a horrible disease and touches so many people."
Each rider has to raise $2,500 to participate in the ride, and so far Team Finn has raised $285,000 this year.
Balla has been raising his portion with a variety of fundraisers including plant sales and selling Finnspiration bracelets (available for $5 by emailing darcyballa@ shaw.ca).
Finn Sullivan lived three short years in North Vancouver and died in October 2008 of cancer and the team is named in his memory.
The efforts of Team Finn are being recognized as part of a fundraiser in Boston today.
It is the first organization in British Columbia, and second in Canada, to be recognized for "the one hundred" event - The Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center's annual fundraiser held in Boston.
With efforts to raise money and awareness, Team Finn will enjoy an unforgettable gala reception today (June 7), with celebrity guest Matt Damon.
"We are honoured to be the second Canadian group or individual ever to be nominated for the one hundred in Boston and the first from British Columbia," said Finn's father. "We will continue to celebrate our son's life and raise money for pediatric genomic research in an effort to change the story for others."
Since 2009, Team Finn has raised more than $1.4 million for cancer research at the BC Cancer Agency and helped make a difference to families affected by childhood cancer.
"Patrick and his wife Sam developed and live by a mantra that captured Finn's kinetic joy: 'run, jump, bounce, dance, sing, love, smile, and ride'," said nominator Bill King, business development manager at Edgewater Ranzal.
Last year, the Ride to Conquer Cancer raised $11 million. For more information, go to www. conquercancer.ca.