Chris MacDougall has spent his summer putting everything he has into doing his best to fulfil his late son’s dream of working to find a cure for cancer.
“When he was 11, he said he wanted to be a bio chemist, to help find a cure,” MacDougall said. Charlie shared this with his father after he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, the same type of bone cancer that Terry Fox battled. After years of treatment, remission and a relapse, Charlie passed away December 28, 2004.
Since July 24, 62-year-old MacDougall has been cycling across Canada, beginning in British Colombia and ending in Newfoundland, raising money to go toward the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute in Halifax, to help find a cure.
On Saturday afternoon, the Nova Scotian continued the next leg of his journey, beginning in Pictou and passing through the county on his way to the Newfoundland ferry.
MacDougall said there are four key reasons he wanted to do the ride: He aims to make people aware that cancer research works, to raise money, raise awareness about the incredible research that is being done in Atlantic Canada and of course, to honour Charlie.
He noted that although he had great weather for most of the ride, there were a few hard days along the way.
“The ride through P.E.I. was very challenging,” he said, mentioning that the weather was great, but he was riding against the wind which made things challenging.
The diversity of the country was one of his favourite parts of the journey so far, although he recalled a particular memorable experience meeting a woman that was personally affected by cancer, the meeting was particularly touching he said.
“I don’t think I’ve met anybody that hasn’t been affected by cancer,” he said.
One couple, who has been particularly moved by MacDougall’s experience and journey, are Pauline and Brian Grant who are frequent customers of the two Tim Hortons locations that MacDougall owns and operates in Elmsdale and Enfield. The couple travelled to the North Shore Saturday morning to meet MacDougall before he left Pictou at 9:30 a.m.
After following his cross-country journey and having known MacDougall for some time, they decided they wanted to help out. Brian decided to ask all 10 houses on his street, Ashford Place, to donate $20 each to the cause; he even asked his doctor. All those who he asked gladly donated. Saturday morning, the couple presented the money as well as a card signed by all the donors, wishing MacDougall luck on the end of his trip.
So far, the campaign has raised about $153,000 for cancer research. To donate to Charlie’s Ride visit www.charliesride.net/donate.
As for MacDougall, he says that he thinks that if he could, Charlie (who would now be 26)would be right beside him on the fundraising ride.
“I would think he’d be doing it with me,” he said thoughtfully.
Chris MacDougall, centre, along with some local cyclists, left Pictou on Saturday morning to continue his cross-Canada bike tour to raise money for cancer research in memory of his late son, Charlie. Here, he chats with some local residents while taking a rest stop near the rotary.