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More than 20 cyclists set to leave Grande Prairie on 2019 Tour of Hope

More than 20 cyclists braved the cool temperatures and rain showers on Sunday for a good cause. They are preparing to leave Grande Prairie and hit the road on the first leg of the Kids with Cancer Society’s Tour of Hope.

Ruben Marin of Grande Prairie has participated in the ride for five years now. He says it’s his way of giving back.

“It’s a great cause, it helps a lot of people in our community and a lot of families. I feel blessed that I have three kids with no major sicknesses so being able to do something like this is just a way of being able to give back.”

The Kids with Cancer Society provides resources like education and financial assistance to children fighting cancer and their families across the province.

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The ride was started 17 years ago and this year participants will travel around 830-kilometres over seven days through places like Valleyview and High Prairie before ending in Edmonton.

This is also rider John Feniak’s fifth time participating and he says its something he looks forward to every year.

“A big part of this is the camaraderie between our group because we’re a smaller group of riders… We really get to gel as a little family. A lot of us don’t see each other through the course of the year…so when we get together its a reunion and a great time.”

For the 2019 ride, the society has added a 25, 50, and 100-kilometre option for those who may not be able to travel the full 830-kilometre distance. This is also the first year the group has left from Grande Prairie.

Executive Director Val Figliuzzi says they help a lot of families in the Grande Prairie area and this event allows them to do that.

“It creates so many funds for the organization that we desperately need…but [also] the awareness that it creates; these riders are going through different parts of the province and people stop and ask them what they’re doing. People begin to know that there is a Kids with Cancer Society and the importance and value of the programs we provide.”

As of the start of the event, riders had raised a total of $154,945, beating the society’s $150,000 goal. The group should be in Edmonton by June 16th.

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