• Lorna Hamilton

Jarrod Russell’s Great Cycle Challenge To Help Beat Cancer

At the age of four, Lloydminster resident, Jarrod Russell was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.

“In 1980, I was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. With hope, faith and determination, I battled it with my friends and family at my side. This is an important part of my journey and the experience has helped me develop into the person I am today. I am a survivor and even though I was left with a weak right side and I developed epilepsy, I am here today,” stated Russell.

Russell went on to express that he wants to use his strengths to fight for great kids that should be living life and not fighting for it.

“I am raising funds to help support the SickKids Foundation in its work to develop treatments and finally find a cure for childhood cancer,” Russell explained. “Sometimes the greatest inspirations come from the smallest people. Your support will change little lives.”

Jamie Lamon, Director of Special Events at SickKids Foundation states that cancer is the largest killer of Canadian children from disease and over 1,400 Canadian children are diagnosed with cancer every year.

“Thanks to riders like Jarrod, we’re fueling groundbreaking research to save lives and give kids the brighter future they deserve,” said Lamon.

Russell also added that approximately three children die of cancer every week in Canada.

“That sucks, and cancer has robbed too many children of their childhoods. Stories like this are why I ride!” exclaimed Russell.

As an adult in his 40’s, Russell will be participating in the Great Cycle Challenge in August and he will be riding for nine-year-old Braxton Weidman from Birmingham, Alabama who reminds Russell very much of himself.

“Braxton and our family are so excited to be supported by Jarrod and his quest to raise money and bring awareness to Glioblastoma. Our now nine-year-old son was diagnosed with Stage 4 Glioblastoma Labor Day week 2020. Our family’s quest to save our little boy has brought so many great people into our lives. That includes Jarrod by a long shot! When Jarrod heard about Braxton he reached out to me and wanted to help! We immediately jumped on board and are proud that Jarrod would consider Braxton as his focus for his ride this year. We as a family have had so many tough days since his diagnosis yet so many beautiful days we never thought we would experience. Meeting Jarrod and promoting awareness of this horrible disease that afflicts so many people yearly needs a cure. Jarrod is doing his part and we thank him for that!” said Braxton’s dad Chris Weidman.

Thus far Braxton has undergone two brain surgeries to remove parts of the tumor and has amazed his doctors, family, friends and supporters as his determination is unwavering to dominate his treatment and to beat his illness.

“It goes without saying that Braxton’s family is committed and focused on providing him the best care and treatment possible. In August I ride for Braxton and many other kids fighting the disease we call CANCER!” stated Russell.

This year is the sixth year Russell will be participating in the Great Cycle Challenge and during those years he has rode 5,542 kilometres and has raised $143, 526.32.

“The Great Cycle Challenge runs during the month of August. I try to ride 30-40 km a day in hopes of reaching my 1200 km goal for the month. The money I have raised is helping kids fight cancer in hopes of a brighter future. One they deserve!” explained Russell.

Russell stated that he bought his recumbent bike in 2012 and originally planned to take part in the annual two-day 200 km ride to Conquer Cancer, but found the training to difficult and therefore decided to do the Great Cycle Challenge.

In preparation for the upcoming event Russell trains all winter on a stationary bike and when he can get out in the warmer weather he bikes through the trails in Lloydminster and the country roads when he has someone to ride with him.

“This year, I am aiming to raise $10,000 and ride 1,200 kilometres,” said Russell. As of April 21, 2021 he has raised $4103 towards his goal.

To learn more about Jarrod’s Great Cycle Challenge Canada and to make a donation, please visit greatcyclechallenge.ca/Riders/JarrodQRussell. To participate in Great Cycle Challenge Canada, visit GreatCycleChallenge.ca

Jarrod Russell. Photo submitted

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