Fort McMurray man trains for 8th annual Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer
By DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly
Local resident gears towards a 200 kilometre journey to help others defeat his same battle in the 8th annual Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer in Calgary.
When Onkar Jawale was 21 years old, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Today, at the young age of 36, he is a motivated survivor and wants to take on the challenge to help others.
“I was fortunate to survive and now I’m living my second life,” he said. “It’s my new life that’s driving me to raise funds, which might help to save many lives in the near the future.”
Growing up in India, it was there where Jawale was treated with surgery, which was followed by chemotherapy. The next five years of his life were spent monitoring it and receiving treatments. He said “it was a tough time for me and my family.”
Though Onkar said the treatment was difficult, he is grateful. In 2010, he married and has spent the last three years calling Fort McMurray home with his wife and one-year-old son. He shared how becoming a father was one of the most memorable moments in his life.
“During my cancer journey, fatherhood seemed like only a distant dream, as I knew that chemotherapy affects sperm count and quality,” he said. “I was fortunate to recover to good health and now my son is the most precious gift I have ever received.”
According to The Ride to Conquer Cancer website (www.conquercancer.ca), Onkar, along with others, will help raise thousands of dollars for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. It states “funds raised through the Ride supports breakthrough cancer research, clinical trails, enhanced care and the discovery of new cancer therapies at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Cross Cancer Institute and 15 other centres across Alberta.”
With the two-day cycling event is set to take place on August 6 to August 7 in Calgary, Jawale has already been in the process of training and fundraising for his campaign. He has been utilizing MacDonald Island Park’s indoor facilities for spinning and will be cycling around Fort McMurray and on Highway 881, once the snow clears.
Jawale said he decided to take on the 200 kilometre journey after completing last year’s Fort McMurray Half Marathon.
“I set this challenge for myself and achieved it,” he said. “I am sure I will be able to achieve the challenge of completing the Ride to Conquer, as well.”
Since he ended his treatment a decade ago, the cancer has never returned to Jawale’s body.
“I am in good health now and living a perfectly normal, and very active life,” he explained.
He hopes to inspire other patients to “stay positive in your mind and your body will respond better to treatments.”
To support Jawale on his fundraising campaign, go to www.conquercancer.ca and find his page by using his ID number: 201291-9 in the ‘Advanced Search’ option. M