By Debra Downey
Biking4Boobies has earned nationwide acclaim.
Kyle Chevalier’s cross-Canada bicycle trek last summer to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research has been nominated by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation for its "Outstanding Volunteer" award.
Chevalier said the nomination is a tribute to everyone who played a role in his successful, 97-day, 9,306-kilometre journey from east to west coast.
“The honour of being nominated sparks a lot of positive emotions and inspiration,” said Chevalier. “It is a very kind reminder of the teamwork and vision it took to make Biking4Boobies a success.”
A McMaster graduate and former member of the basketball team, Chevalier came up with the idea for the cross-country bike ride after participating in a Think Pink rally at the university. Varsity athletes wore pink to honour someone who had fought, or was fighting, breast cancer. Chevalier wrote on his warm-up shirt, “In support of Coach Theresa and Joanne Clem.”
Theresa Burns is a McMaster women’s basketball coach and Clem is a close friend of the Chevalier family.
“Mrs. Clem was really touched, and she is such a strong woman,” Chevalier told Hamilton Community News before climbing on his bicycle on May 16 in Cape Spear, Newfoundland. “It was such a simple gesture and I thought, ‘What else could I do?’”
Accompanied by a support vehicle driven by Tessa Leigh Gonzales, Chevalier ran into a number of challenges during his Biking4Boobies campaign — the most significant being weather conditions. During his journey, Chevalier faced sub-zero temperatures, heavy headwinds and a raging blizzard. The trials, however, were tempered by the feedback from others. From children emptying their piggybanks to others who wished him well along the route, Chevalier said the “power of positivity” kept him pedalling.
“To me, this award is the recognition of the many hours, days and months dedicated to the planning and execution of raising awareness and funds for breast cancer,” said Chevalier, who attended Bishop Tonnos Catholic Secondary School.
“...With anything in life, you can get far by yourself, but when people come together, things can only move further, faster.”
Biking4Boobies raised more than $30,000 for breast cancer research. For more information, visit biking4boobies.com.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s annual awards ceremony takes place early April in Toronto.