Father & Son Team Up on Bike Ride to Fight Cancer British Columbia IGA team raises $32K
Over the past few years Kevin Kothlow, of Winfield IGA in Winfield, British Columbia, helped raise funds to support the efforts of people cycling in the annual charity Ride to Conquer Cancer. But last year he and his son, Cory, who works alongside his father as Winfield IGA store manager, were inspired to take the step of participating in the two-day ride, which covers 228km of scenic road cycling (almost 142 miles) from Cloverdale to Hope, British Columbia.
The decision to ride was personal, said Melaney Kothlow, wife of Kevin and mom to Cory. The entire family has been rallying around Cory’s wife, Kim Kothlow, who is on the survivor side of a recent battle with cervical cancer.
Kim was strong through her chemo treatments that required a four-hour drive to Vancouver and returning back the same day. Adding to the logistics: Cory and Kim, both 32, also have a 4-year-old son, Logan. “It was a lot, but Kim did great,” said Melaney.
Fortunately Kim’s cancer is in remission and she’s now going for blood work every three months. “Everything’s on the up and up,” Melaney said. The experience inspired Kevin and Cory to get involved with the Ride to Conquer Cancer. This past March, the father and son team, who had never done a distance ride before, bought bikes and started training.
“It was a new thing for both of them. It was pretty cool to see them go out for their training,” said Melaney. “How many dads can say they did something like this with their son?”
They started with 15km and kept adding to the trips in steady increments, up to about 80-90km. Right before the race, they did a training ride with fellow teammates who had done the race before, to get to know each person’s pace and prep for the big day. Joining them in the IGA Cares team were six employees from the head office and a few friends.
In the store, the Kothlows worked with suppliers to run promotions to raise money to support the team. For example, in a seafood promotion, the store designated $2 from each sale of Go Wild Argentinian Shrimp and Go Wild Sockeye Salmon as going to support the team. Those efforts, combined with donations received on their IGA team page, helped Kevin and Cory exceed their goals.
In the 11 years the event has been taking place, riders have raised a total of $105.1M for the B.C. Cancer Foundation. This year, 2,100 riders raised $9.1M, with the IGA Cares team contributing $31,942.
The event’s webpage allowed online donors to choose which cancer they wanted to designate their funds to go toward, said Melaney, such as bone cancer, breast cancer, etc. “It makes it more personal.”
The ride took place August 24 and 25, with all the riders traveling 117km the first day and 108km the second, through beautiful and hilly scenery. Cancer survivors were designated with yellow flags on their bikes, gaining extra cheers from the bystanders, said Melaney. And once Kevin and Cory were finished, they immediately signed up for next year. “It’s an amazing event,” she said.