In December of last year my family received the heartbreaking news that our Dad had been diagnosed with a rare form of bile duct cancer.
His treatment plan with the GI Clinic at PMH started soon after and with the arrival of summer, three generations gathered in Muskoka at “Caerholme” - our family island in East Bay. The theme of the summer was spending precious time with Dad and support him and Mom through the difficult chemo sessions with their inevitable side effects.
In mid July, my son, an avid cyclist, told us about an Instagram post about a bike ride called The Northern Pass - a ride around Lake Muskoka to raise funds for PMH. How perfect! This would get us on our bikes and help prepare us for our big California trip. So we all signed up.
We rallied the troops and created our Caerholme family team “Caer for the Cure”. Our family began to shift our focus towards training and raising of funds for the Northern Pass. We sent texts, letters and emails to all of our friends and family - telling them about the ride and our efforts to raise money for Princess Margaret, specifically the GI clinic where Dad was being treated.
The response was overwhelming. Our friends supported us and gave generously. Many said it was a comfort and delight to be given the opportunity to do something to help - to show their love and support in a way that would benefit Dad and others facing similar challenges.
On August 13th, 3 generations of our family ranging from age 17 - 69 woke up early and made our way to the event. We hopped on our bikes and hit the course. The sun was shining, the grandkids cheered us on and there was cold beer waiting at the finish line. It was a perfect Muskoka day.
The Northern Pass may have gotten us back on our bikes and ready for our family bike trip but in the end it proved to be so much more than that. It was wonderful therapy for our family, giving us such a positive feeling of accomplishment. The support, love and encouragement we received from family, friends and sometimes total strangers gave us strength and hope for whatever the future might bring. The Northern Pass gave us an opportunity to make a difference and focus on paying it forward. We reconnected with friends and family far and wide without ever having to leave our beloved Muskoka summer home.
This summer we are riding again in the 2nd annual Northern Pass. Our team "Caer for the Cure" has grown to include even more friends and family members. Our Dad will be there cheering us on. Training is in full swing as we look forward to riding again this year. See you in Muskoka!
Please consider donating to any one of our team members. You can make a difference. We thank you for supporting our team and sharing our vision to conquer cancer.
Love and gratitude,
Team "Caer for the Cure"