Kevin Kendall has been on a long journey since he was first diagnosed with cancer. And now a chance to reach out to support other cancer survivors has him excited about the road ahead.
The 34-year-old Saanich man was living in Vancouver when the sting of cancer first touched his life.
“I actually remember the exact day, it was April 5, 2012. I was an ESL teacher. I just collapsed at the front of my classroom with a grand mal seizure,” recalls Kendall.
He regained consciousness surrounded by a team of paramedics as he laid on the floor of his classroom. He was rushed to hospital, where after a CT scan and biopsy doctors discovered a brain tumour.
Kendall underwent a year of chemotherapy to treat the grade 2 brain tumour in his left frontal lobe. “The tumour is still there and it’s inoperable,” said Kendall. But while the treatment wasn’t able to reduce the size of the tumour, it also hasn’t grown – an encouraging sign for his doctors.
“For the past three years since I was diagnosed, it’s been kind of a personal hell. I have seizures on a regular basis.”
The seizures resulted in Kendall losing his driver’s licence.
“Losing that mobility, it’s something that you really take for granted. In my family, I was the driver.”
When he got back onto his bike about a year ago, Kendall rediscovered some of that mobility he lost.
“I found this new-found freedom that I had forgot about. It really gave me a new sense of hope,” said Kendall. “Now I’m not relying on the bus or my wife to drive me all the time. It’s a certain amount of independence that I thought I had lost.”
And with his renewed independence came a boost in confidence, something that led him to put his regained cycling skills to the test.
“I had heard about the Ride to Conquer Cancer. In the back of my mind, I’ve thought that’s something I’d like to do.”
Although Kendall got back on his bike to get in shape, he decided he had thought about the Ride for long enough and made a point to register.
“Now I’m committed and am really looking forward to it,” said Kendall, who has pledged to raise at least $2,500 through the ride.
The next Ride to Conquer Cancer is scheduled for Aug. 27 and 28, with hundreds of cyclists making the 200-kilometre trek from Vancouver to Seattle to raise funds for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.
Kendall has already begun training for the ride and is getting some tips from his dad, who is an avid cyclist.
He rides everyday from his home on the UVic campus, where he lives with his wife and two young daughters, to Camosun College’s Interurban campus, where he is studying for a degree in business.
“That’s about a 12 k ride, to and from, so it’s a good place to start. I’m hoping to get out for longer rides but it’s hard to get out for long rides in the winter.”
While Kendall enjoys the improved fitness from the cycling and looks forward to meeting with other cancer survivors and their friends and families at next summer’s Ride, his main objective comes through the message he’s hoping to spread.
“It’s important for survivors to not lose hope. If you are thinking of doing something like this, know that you can do it,” said Kendall. “It took me a long time to get back on the bike, both figuratively and literally, but it’s something that you can do.”
To donate to Kendall’s campaign, visit conquercancer.ca/site/TR/Events/Vancouver2016?px=3999919&pg=personal&fr_id=1573.