Northern Ontario woman bikes hundreds of kilometres to honour dad
Markstay-Warren resident Lynn Laforest says for the past four years she has participated in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, but due to COVID-19, the large annual bike ride that takes place annually was cancelled. So Laforest took it upon herself to do a solo ride in memory of someone very close to her heart.
Laforest was born and raised in Markstay-Warren, just under 50 kilometres east of Sudbury. On Sunday afternoon she was greeted by residents who were cheering her on as she completed her two-day-long ride to conquer cancer.
Not only is Laforest raising money for cancer but she’s also riding in memory of her father, Roger Laforest, who passed away of lung cancer last October.
"We weren’t able to do a celebration of life so I wasn’t able to really be around family and friends to get that support. So I would jump on my bike and I would ride. I was talking to him and I said to myself 'you what know Dad, we’re going to do this ride, and I’m going to bike into your hometown,'" Laforest said.
She biked a total of 270 kilometres in a matter of only two days. She said even though it was a lot on her body, it’s nothing compared to what some people are going through.
"I just keep thinking in my head 'there are worse off people than I am.' That little bit of pain I was having, and you know what, I just preserved and continued. The people that are going through cancer, their pain is long term," Laforest said.
Around 50 residents came out to show their support, some of who have even fought their own battle.
"I had breast cancer in 2019. I went through 16 treatments of radiation and with the support of great neighbours, family, and friends, I got through it," said Ginette Laporte, a Markstay-Warren resident and cancer survivor.
"My grandpa had brain cancer, that’s why he died. We have his favourite colour balloon -- red -- and we will always miss him," said Logan Whynott.
Residents in attendance said coming together as a community is nothing new, especially when it comes to supporting families that have lost someone to cancer.
"This is a gathering of hope and love for everyone and as a community. We’re going to do this and we’re behind Lynn 100 per cent. It’s important that people know they aren’t alone," said Rachelle Poirier, Markstay-Warren resident.
Laforest has raised more than $7,000 this year for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.