Cancer has affected Red Deer surgeon Lawrence Farries his whole life, and now he’s raising thousands to fight it.
Farries will participate in the ninth annual Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer this weekend, a two-day, 200-kilometre cycling for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. With just a few days to go, Farries has raised nearly $30,000 for the ride, just short of his $35,000 goal.
The ride, which starts Saturday and ends on Sunday, takes cyclists through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It begins and ends in Calgary.
As a general surgeon, Farries has diagnosed many people with different cancers. Having so many people donate money means the world to him because cancer has greatly affected his life, both professional and personally, he said.
When Farries was 18 his mother died from pancreatic cancer and his father is a two-time melanoma survivor. Farries’ wife survived lymphoma and his sister survived colon cancer, but is currently living with uterine cancer.
“I can hardly throw a stick without hitting someone with cancer in my life, so for me it’s a very obvious thing to put my energy behind,” he said.
His mother’s death is one of the main reasons he works as a surgeon today, he said.
“The general surgeon who looked after my mother is a man that I’ll always respect and look up to. I wanted to be a real doctor who fights cancer just like him,” he said.
Having so many friends, colleagues and others help him get close to his fundraising goal speaks a lot about the character of human beings, Farries said.
“It takes your breath away when you see the generosity of people. They really want to help and really want to do something,” he said.
Farries rides his bike to work everyday, but he never has done a long ride like the one he will this weekend. He’s looking forward to the challenge, he added.
“I’ve been training really hard, I’ve been riding about 160 kilometres a week since early May. I had one week in June where I did 400 kilometres,” he said.
Funds raised through the ride go towards cancer research, clinical trials, enhanced care and the discovery of new cancer therapies at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Cross Cancer Institute and 15 other centres across Alberta.