Finding strength in community: One woman’s journey across Canada
“This ride is the most important thing I've ever done, it has provided me with an outlet for my grief and allowed me to feel like I am affecting change for a cause that I am passionate about,” says Bianca Hayes of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Bianca is a cyclist training to set the women’s Guinness World Record for fastest trans-Canada Ride, while raising $1 million for ovarian cancer research, advocacy, and support initiatives.
In 2018, Bianca’s world changed after losing her sister, Katrina, to ovarian cancer. Determined to make a difference in the lives of those affected by and at risk of the disease, Bianca began a journey that would take her across the nation and connect her to a cause in desperate need of attention.
“I will not stop. This is not the last thing I will do, and this will not continue to be the cancer that nobody knows about. They matter, their stories and their lives matter and I will not stop until this has created real change,” she says of the community. “Research is where life-saving change is made. It is the reason there are more treatment options for women facing this disease and has provided better understanding of the disease itself.”
Bianca has set her sights high, aiming to make the biggest impact possible, and finds support offered readily. “None of this is done in a vacuum, I have leaned heavily on my family, friends, crew and trainers through this for moral, physical and emotional support and can honestly say this would not have been possible without them,” she says.
Finding hope and support in those around her has helped to keep her going throughout the long months of training leading up to her ride. Throughout the process, Bianca’s determination to make a difference in the lives of those impacted by ovarian cancer has remained constant.
All funds raised in support of Bianca will be evenly distributed between Ovarian Cancer Canada and the BC Cancer Foundation. These funds directly benefit the community by funding research, advocacy, and support initiatives that act as crucial lifelines for those living with and at risk of ovarian cancer. By donating you are helping save lives.
Her ride began in the early hours of June 13 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and will finish in Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can show your support for Bianca by sharing her message on social media, or by donating to help her reach her goal.
Update: On June 26th, while riding through Quebec, Bianca was involved in a motor vehicle accident during her Guinness Record Trans Canada Ride. Bianca is resting and recovering. While this was not the outcome Bianca or her team had planned for, the hope Bianca has brought to the entire ovarian cancer community is profound. We wish her the best in her recovery and continue to be inspired by her unwavering dedication into research and advocacy for ovarian cancer in memory of her sister.
Photos by Melanie Katcher and Coconut Creative