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When the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride arrived at the IWK after biking from Vancouver, B.C. in 2012, pediatric oncologist-hematologist Bruce Crooks cheered the riders on with his patient Hannah MacKenzie.

“She came sliding up alongside of me, and her head comes up to about there on me,” he points to the bottom of his short sleeve. “She said, ‘OK Brucey, we doing this next year?’ I looked down and asked, ‘Do I have any choice in this?’ She looked back up and said no. So I said ‘I reckon that we’re doing it then.’”

The ride is a relay-style trek that sees thousands of cyclists cross the country over 18 days in September. Some will join for a day or two, but the 35 national team riders bike every day.

“It’s as many days and kilometres as the Tour de France,” Crooks says. “It’s not as aggressive, but you also don’t get a rest day.”

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