Four of the team members of Cell Cyclists from the Deeley Research Centre riding in the Ride to Conquer Cancer are: Dr. Kwame Twumasi-Boateng

Saanich cyclist fights cancer in the lab and on the bike

Saanich cyclist Kwame Twumasi-Boateng takes on Ride to Conquer Cancer, knows exactly where funds raised are going, and sees the results

Once raised, the results of money for cancer research can be invisible to some, but Kwame Twumasi-Boateng knows exactly where it is going, and he sees the results.

Twumasi-Boateng, a Saanich resident, is a postdoctoral fellow studying breast cancer at the B.C. Cancer Agency Deeley Research Centre (on the Saanich half of the Royal Jubilee Hospital Campus) where money from fundraising efforts funds the work that he does. As the captain of the Cell Cyclists, not only does Twumasi-Boateng work in cancer research, he helps raise money for the work he knows is extremely important.

The Cell Cyclists are a team of researchers who are signed up and ready to ride in the 2016 Ride to Conquer Cancer presented by Silver Wheaton benefiting the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

“Last year was my first year for the ride and I had thought it might be fun to do some day,” said Twumasi-Boateng. “It was great, definitely challenging.”

He has taken that long two-day ride before and wants to repeat the (more than) 200-kilometre ride from Vancouver to Seattle on August 27 and 28.

Last year, nasty weather dogged much of the ride with some cyclists blown over on their bikes and into ditches. It was an “eventful” introduction to the ride, Twumasi-Boateng said.

The Cell Cyclists are hoping to top last year’s amount raised of $15,000 by $3,000. Each rider has to raise $2,500 and with more members, the easier it will be to reach their goal.

The current team includes: Twumasi-Boateng; Dr. Lindsay DeVorkin: postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Brad Nelson; director and distinguished Scientist, Victoria Hodgson; research assistant, Julian Smazynski; graduate student, all from the Deeley Research Centre, as well as Kris Gordon and Braydon Gordon.

Throughout March there is a Team Up Challenge where people are encouraged to start, join or recruit team members. Visit conquercancer.ca to sign on.

Twumasi-Boateng said many of the riders are themselves cancer survivors or they have been impacted by cancer in some way.

Sure the ride is about raising much-needed money for cancer research but it is also about fun, physical challenge and camaraderie. Riders camp out in Mount Vernon and enjoy entertainment and socializing. Meandering through the inspiring landscape, riders can choose a 200 km ride or the adrenalin-charged 300 km route. Both end  in Seattle.

For Twumasi-Boateng, there’s something about seeing exactly where the donations go.

Twumasi-Boateng was encouraged to sign up for his first ride because the money raised by his team went directly to the Deeley Research Centre.

“It is one of the few centres that is supported by the funds raised,” he said.

For Twumasi-Boateng, it’s about  one day showing his five-month-old son and his father has challenged himself and is helping an important cause while doing something for someone else. He took on the charitable cause because he said he does not want his son to fear the disease.

Cell Cyclist researchers are holding clinical trials around Adoptive Cell Therapy in 2017. The premise is to use the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. This treatment will be conducted on those with ovarian and cervical cancer.

“It is challenging research,” said Twumasi-Boateng, “there is no magic bullet. There certainly are certain cancers where we have made tremendous progress, they are quite treatable and they got that way through research.”

 

 

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