Endurist Cyclist Rochelle Davidson is Committed to Help End Cancer, One Ride at a Time
Rochelle Davidson is a wife, a mom to two rescue dogs, an obsessed cyclist with five bikes, a not-so-bendy yogi … and a cancer survivor.
Diagnosed in 2005, the news rocked Rochelle’s world. As a triathlete, runner and cyclist who ate well and had a healthy lifestyle, hearing the words “You have breast cancer,” was something she had never in a million years expected.
“There’s no history of cancer in my family on either side, my twin sister has never had it – it seemed like a complete anomaly,” says Rochelle. “What I’ve learned is it’s not an anomaly at all. It impacts so many lives, and it’s something we really need to find a solution for.”
After three years of intense treatment, Rochelle was finally deemed cancer free. However, on her last day of radiation at the BC Cancer Agency, she discovered that she’d never actually be “free” of the disease.
“When they said, ‘That’s it, you don’t have to come back anymore,’ my knee-jerk reaction was, ‘But I want to come back! I don’t know what to do – what’s next?’”
The realization launched her on a journey to discover who she wanted to be and how she wanted to give back. When her manager at the time told her about Ride2Survive – the largest independent fundraising event in Canada benefiting the Canadian Cancer Society – she was intrigued.
“He said, ‘Hey, Rochelle, knowing how much you love riding bikes this is something you probably want to get into,’” she recalls. “So I looked into it and found out it was this 400-kilometre, one-day ride that raised money for cancer – it was a no-brainer.”
The year was 2008, and Rochelle, along with her twin sister Nicole and friend Liz, set a precedent as the first women to complete the full ride – and she hasn’t missed a year since (and has raised approximately $60,000 toward cancer research and programs, to boot).
“Besides the community, the camaraderie and all the personal stories we share, the greatest thing is that we actually see a difference,” she says of Ride2Survive. “I was in a local bike shop looking to make some changes to my bike and I happened to be wearing my Ride2Survive jacket. The guy at the till said, ‘I just wanted to say thank you.’ When I asked for what, he said, ‘In addition to working here, I’m a PhD student working at the BC Cancer Research and the money you raised helped fund a project I’m working on to support breast cancer.’ That was incredible for me to hear.”
She adds, “This year was my 10th year, my 10th ride. I’ve gone from being someone who got pushed up hills to being someone who pushes other people up hills. In fact, I’ve been at this longer than I’ve ever been at any one job! And, in total, I have ridden 4,000 kilometres, not including training, which is intense. But it doesn’t even compare with what I’ll be doing in September when I ride across Canada!”
On September 6, 2017, Rochelle and 37 other endurance cyclists (some of whom have lost children to cancer) will be embarking upon the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride: an 18-day coast-to-coast journey from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Halifax, Nova Scotia. On the way, they’ll be stopping to visit the 17 Canadian oncology centres that specialize in children’s cancer, including BC Children’s Hospital.
“The ultimate goal, the reason I ride, is to create a world where we – kids, adults, all of us – don’t have to deal with cancer anymore,” she says. “I absolutely believe that, in my lifetime, we are going to get to a place where no one else dies from this disease.”
“Rochelle and I ride together on the WOWride cycling team, and I think it’s safe to say she’s a one-in-a-million person,” says Angie Buonassisi, founder of JoyViva. “I’m honoured to know her, to ride with her and to be her friend.”
Help Rochelle reach her goal of raising $25,000 to fund important childhood cancer charities across Canada by donating here!