Olympic cycling medallist Axel Merckx to lead, Premier Campbell to chair, BC Cancer Foundation's Westside Cycling Classic presented by the Airey Group



    Cancer survivor Andrew Gregory plans to be first to register and train to
    regain his health

    VANCOUVER, March 5 /CNW/ - On Sunday June 1st, recreational cyclists
across B.C. can ride with one of the world's top cyclists and possibly win a
deluxe trip to the 2008 Tour de France, while raising funds for cancer
research at the BC Cancer Agency.
    The day will begin with the B.C. Provincial Road Race Cycling
Championships, for competitive riders. Then Belgium national cycling champion
and Olympic bronze medallist Axel Merckx will lead the new BC Cancer
Foundation's Westside Cycling Classic Community Ride.
    "I am delighted to be returning to Vancouver to help raise funds for the
BC Cancer Foundation," said Merckx, who now lives in Kelowna B.C. with his
family and operates Axel Merckx Cycling Tours (www.axelmerckx.com). "It was
such a great experience to ride with so many champions of the cause last fall
in the BC Cancer Foundation Tour of Courage, I just had to return to keep the
momentum going and I encourage everyone to sign up at www.cycleforcancer.com
and participate."
    Premier Gordon Campbell, who was honorary chair and also rode in last
year's cycling fundraiser, will chair the BC Cancer Foundation's new
initiative.
    "Cancer will touch almost everyone at some point in their lives," said
Premier Campbell. "Support for the BC Cancer Agency translates into new
research, new treatments, and new supports for patients and families."
    The 40-km community ride is open to all recreational cyclists aged four
and up and will follow a scenic course through Vancouver's UBC endowment
lands. All proceeds will go to the BC Cancer Foundation to support research at
the BC Cancer Agency, throughout the province. The top fundraiser in the
community ride will win a deluxe trip for two to the 2008 Tour de France.
    39-year-old testicular cancer survivor Andrew Gregory plans to be the
first to register in the BC Cancer Foundation's Westside Cycling Classic
presented by the Airey Group. He marked a major personal milestone last year
when he raised $8,000 and cycled 90 km in the BC Cancer Foundation Tour of
Courage, just six months after nine weeks of intensive, energy-draining
chemotherapy.
    Gregory had run a marathon and completed a triathlon, but had never
cycled 90 km. Not only did he complete the distance, he also managed to keep
up to Merckx in the lead group. "It was just an incredible experience, a major
achievement after my cancer," said Gregory. "It was a total thrill to ride
alongside Axel Merckx." Gregory wanted to give back to his caregivers at the
BC Cancer Agency. "They were just amazing, I owe so much to all the doctors,
nurses and technicians," he said.
    The cancer survivor can hardly wait to get back on his bike again. This
year, he plans to raise $10,000. He said he found the fundraising easier than
he expected. "It turned out to be a life-changing experience," he recalls.
"The ride this year will be 40 km and, as a casual rider, I can say that
anybody can do it. Get out on your bike when the sun is shining and you will
be in great shape to complete the ride," he said. "I urge people to register
at www.cycleforcancer.com and start fundraising now. You will be surprised
what you can achieve."
    For information or to register, go to www.cycleforcancer.com or call
(604) 675-8243.

    Established in 1935, the BC Cancer Foundation raises funds to support
research and enhancements to care at the BC Cancer Agency, throughout B.C.
    For the second consecutive year, the presenting sponsor of the BC Cancer
Foundation's Westside Cycling Classic is the Airey Group, formerly Formwerks
Development Corp., a leading Vancouver-based property design and development
team with deep ties to Vancouver's Westside community.





For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Judy Hamill, Communications
Officer, BC Cancer Foundation, Cell: (604) 802-6984, jhamill@bccancer.bc.ca

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