From left: Matthew Schindel

They ride to help conquer cancer

Ever-growing team cycles in memory of friend lost to the disease

Reuben Kramer never thought of himself as an avid cyclist, but when a family friend was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer five years ago, the first thing he did was a buy a bike.

“When that happened, because I knew the family well, I wanted to support them,” said Kramer, a Fort Langley resident.

“Any time someone’s going through something like that, you want to do something, but you don’t really know what.”

Kramer had signed up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer — a two-day, 200-km cycling event — in honour of Dave Schindel, who had developed glioblastoma multiforme.

Kramer, a long time youth worker with Schindel’s teenage sons, George and Matt, was talking to the family about the diagnosis when the idea came.

George had seen an advertisement for the Ride to Conquer Cancer and so the two of them decided to give it a shot.

With the goal of raising $2,500, together they managed to bring in nearly $10,000.

“It was really cool, we had a really great experience,” Kramer said.

“We didn’t really know what we were getting into our first year. We just kind of went and did it.”

Feeling proud of their accomplishment, the two thought they would only do the event once and didn’t sign up for it for the following year.

That was, until September came and Dave passed away.

Kramer and George knew they had to ride again.

They recruited four more friends and their 2012 team grew to six members.

Calling themselves team Super Dave, they sported blue Superman-style jerseys with a massive red “SD” on the front.

After that second year, “we kind of got hooked,” Kramer said.

By the third year, there were 12 people on the team, and last year it grew again, to 22.

To-date Team Super Dave has raised more than $150,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation — $40,000 of that from this year’s ride alone.

“It’s weird to look back now, five years later, and be like, ‘Wow we raised this much,’ because it always seems like you’re raising a little bit on your own trying to reach that goal,” Kramer said.

“But when you team up and do it together … the impact you have is even greater.

“I never thought I would be part of something that would raise that kind of money.”

The 2015 Ride to Conquer Cancer happens on Aug. 29-30.

Starting in Vancouver, participants have the option of four different routes ranging from 200-300 km. Some routes take cyclists down to Seattle, Wash. while others keep riders within the Vancouver region.

Since it began in 2009, the ride has raised nearly $60 million for the BC Cancer Foundation and is the largest cycling fundraiser in B.C.

For more information on the event, visit www.conquercancer.ca.