Van Reeuwyk: Cancer tops Oprah, Obama and Bacon

It can take up to six degrees to connect to Bacon; most people can link to cancer in one foul swoop.

Cancer clobbers both Oprah and Obama in a Google fight.

It’s more powerful than Kevin Bacon.

It can take up to six degrees to connect to Bacon; most people can link to cancer in one foul swoop.

The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a 1990s trivia-type game where any actor can be linked through film roles to fellow actor Bacon within six steps.

If cancer had an equation like the game about the Footloose star, I would need only a single step. So would most people I know.

There’s a one-in-three chance of developing cancer on this planet – dicey odds – and it’s not a surprise that most people are linked by a loved one and, at the most, by a friend of a friend.

In the game of cancer research I’m also a one – separated by only one degree in a pair of cancer research fundraisers. When Tour de Rock rolls into Sidney on Oct. 6, fellow Black Press employee Chris Bush, a photographer for the Nanaimo News Bulletin, will be among the spandex-wearing riders.

Technically, I think my second connection is twice as strong, or is that half? I’m not sure since it involves my twin cousins.

At family gatherings it takes a few minutes to decipher which twin is Marika, which is Simone. Noting their outfits helps; at 21 each twin is definitely an individual, they don’t even attend the same post-secondary institution, but recently they spent a weekend cycling together. Marika and Simone, a pair of former competitive swimmers who haven’t hopped on a bike since childhood, cycled from Vancouver to Seattle in The Ride to Conquer Cancer, in memory of their mother. The twins are part of an inspiring tale of hope amid the devastation of cancer.

They were just four years old when their mom, my Aunty Diana, lost her two-year battle with liver cancer in September 1994.

They have only fleeting memories of her: a trip to visit relatives in Singapore and her glowing smile. But she planned ahead for her children, leaving behind VHS tapes and photo albums, plus her memory in others who knew her. But their cancer connection doesn’t end there. Years later, another family close to theirs lost their father to a brain tumour.

The similarities brought the two families close.

Their parents formed a bond, married and added a ninth sibling to the family.

It says something that two 20-something university students were willing to dedicate all that time in training, and the oh-so-valuable June weekend, to cycling for cancer research.

The sad truth is that the youth of today know the illness better than my generation ever did.

I didn’t deal with cancer until I lost my uncle and then my grandfather when I was 15.

At just eight-years-old, Kynan Smith will be among those needing toques this fall after shaving his head as the Tour de Rock wraps in Centennial Square in downtown Victoria.

The KELSET elementary student just wanted to help other kids and the odds are he won’t be alone; he may not even be the youngest.

The funds raised by Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock go to pediatric cancer research and programs for children with a history of cancer.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer benefits the B.C. Cancer Foundation with the goal to “accelerate the conquest of cancer.”

In other words they’d like “cure” to beat “cancer” in a Google fight.

Christin van Reeuwyk is a reporter with the Peninsula News Review

reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

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