Pedalling his way to a cure

By Geoff Lee

June 7, 2016 12:00 AM

Forty-year-old Jarrod Russell is supported by his sister, Lana Lane, in his goal to ride 600 km around town in June and raise $6,000 for kids with cancer via the Great Cycle Challenge. Russell is a brain cancer surivor, having been diagnosed with the disease when he was just four.

Jarrod Russell got off to a productive start on the first day of the national Great Cycle Challenge to complete fundraising rides in June to fight kids’ cancer.
Incredibly, the 40-year-old brain cancer survivor from Lloydminster had amassed $3,965 towards his target of $6,000 on his first official ride on June 1 with 29 days to go.
He also road 29.7 kilometres around town on his recumbent bike toward a personal goal of 600 km driven by a need to help others.
“I had cancer when I was four and it was a good way to support cancer kids,” said Russell, outside his residence after one of two rides that day.
“It’s the pleasure of making the kids happy and just donating money to child cancer.”
Russell started some training rides around town in mid May with the early publicity helping him to generate 46 sponsors at the challenge kickoff.
The Great Cycle Challenge is a SickKids Foundation fundraising initiative held throughout the month of June open to all Canadians who want to cycle for a good cause.
The challenge spoke personally to Russell who was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour.
He underwent two surgeries which partially paralyzed his right side and led to epilepsy.
In his online profile, he writes, “I am here today to share my story and to use my strengths towards an excellent foundation.
“I have a soft spot in my heart for kids with cancer and I am determined to make my kilometres count!”
Anyone can follow Russell’s daily progress and donate online by logging onto his campaign at www.greatcyclechallenge.ca/Riders/JarrodQRussell.
Registered cyclists like Russell get a free app to track and map their distance, routes and ride dates and fundraising totals.
Russell’s favourite place to ride in Lloydminster is on the bike paths at Bud Miller All Seasons Park.
“It’s a calmer and safer route,” he said, while adding he meets a lot of walkers there and tells them what he’s doing.
The person most informed is his sister, Lana Lane, who’s thrilled to see her brother do something great with his life.
“He’s here and the chance of survival wasn’t great when we first had the diagnosis, so to be able to be here today raising money for a such an awesome cause is just wonderful,” said Lane.
She noted her brother also went through more than 30 radiation treatments as a kid.
“As a child going through what he did, he definitely has the compassion for those kids that are struggling today, so it’s really nice to see him get out on his bike,” said Lane.
“It can do something good for him, but also for others that are out there.
“I am absolutely proud of what my brother’s doing.”
Russell got his bike four years ago with plans to take part in the annual two-day 200 km Ride to Conquer event in southern Alberta, but that’s on hold.
His brother in-law, Kevin Lane, said the Great Cycle Challenge is a better venue for him.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for him to get out on his bike, get active and help out at the same time,” he said.
The Lanes are part owners of Rusway Construction Ltd. that has also donated to Russell’s cause along with friends, family members and strangers.
Russell had other media interviews lined up on his opening week and checks his smartphone frequently to see who else is supporting his mission to help kids with cancer.
“It makes me pretty proud to see how much money I get through the end of the day,” said Russell, whose first day totals ranked him second in Alberta.

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