If you’re venturing along the K&P Trail this month, you’re likely to come across Desiree Simpson on her bike.
The 24-year-old is participating in her second Great Cycle Challenge in support of Sick Kids Foundation and childhood cancer research.
“So this year I wanted to kick it up a notch and made the goal 500 kilometers, with a goal of $2,000 to raise for childhood cancer research,” says Simpson.
She plans to bike five days a week during the month of August. With more than half of her fundraising goal already met, she’s motivated to make it happen.
“When I’m out there and I’m tired and it’s hard, I just remind myself that the kids who fight cancer, they’re tired all the time, it’s hard as heck, but they don’t get the option to quit,” she says.
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While Simpson has been raising money for childhood cancer research since 2016, last year was her first time participating in the Great Cycle Challenge.
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In 2020, she cycled 127 kilometers, raising $1,200 and surpassing her initial goal.
This year’s goal will see her cycle four times further.
“I’m just so thankful that I have the health and ability, you know. So I just want to make sure that I take advantage of that,” says Simpson. “And I know there are kids sitting in hospital rooms who would do anything to just go out on their bike or just go enjoy the sunshine. So by raising money it just makes me feel like I’m helping those kids get more days in the sun.”
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And her family couldn’t be more proud of her efforts.
“She does amazing every year that she tries. She keeps upping her goals and she succeeds,” says Desiree’s mother, Tammy Simpson.
Desiree broke her own personal record on Saturday by cycling 40 kilometers in a single day.
She’s hoping the Kingston community will help her reach, or surpass, her goal by the August 31 deadline.
“Childhood cancer is not uncommon. It’s actually the top leading disease-related death in children. It beats AIDS, diabetes, asthma. And it’s a lot more common than we think,” says Desiree.
With her fundraising goal in sight, she is set to keep pedaling all month long.
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