Healthy Living in the North

Northern Health staff Ride to Conquer Cancer

Did you know that approximately 1 in 2 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime and that 1 in 4 will die of the disease? With these statistics in mind, you might think: what can I do about it? How can I help? What can I do to prevent this disease from starting in the first place?

For many BC cyclists, the Ride to Conquer Cancer is the answer to these questions. It’s about doing something to raise money, find wellness, and kick cancer’s butt!

The Ride to Conquer Cancer

The Ride to Conquer Cancer is a two-day cycling and fundraising event that benefits the BC Cancer Foundation and supports leading clinicians, scientists, and researchers. It spans over 200 kilometres with participants riding from Cloverdale to Hope! This year’s event took place from August 24-25, and included the Wheelin’ Warriors of the North – a team that takes part every year, and is largely made up of Northern Health (NH) staff and health care workers!

To women take a selfie, wearing their bike outfits.

Brittany (left) is an RN at the BC Cancer Centre for the North and Christine (right) is a lab technician at UHNBC. It was the first year riding in the Ride to Conquer Cancer for both of them!

Healthcare workers come together to fight cancer

Christine Plouffe (Dufresne) is a lab technician at the University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC). This was her first year riding:

“I joined to ride for my family, friends old and new, co-workers, high-school teachers, and classmates, as well as their families who are currently fighting, who have won [or lost] their fight … with cancer. I’m riding for all of you because I can!”

Brittany Schultz, another first year rider, is a registered nurse (RN) at the BC Cancer Centre for the North:

“I joined the team to ride this year for a few reasons. The first reason is that I’ve had several family members and close friends diagnosed with cancer, some who have sadly been defeated by this horrible disease. The second reason is that over the past four years of working at BC Cancer, I’ve been nothing short of amazed by numerous patients and their families that battle cancer with tremendous courage and strength. I see them from the day of diagnosis to the end of treatment, and I’m astounded by their resilience day after day. I want to ride to raise money towards an improved future for this disease, for my friends, family and anybody else facing cancer. The third reason I will ride is for a personal challenge, and for the chance to get to know the incredible team of Wheelin’ Warriors.”

Haylee, her mom, and dad celebrate finishing the 2019 Ride to Conquer Cancer in their bike outfits with helmets on, and arms raised.

Haylee (left) and her parents at the 2019 Ride to Conquer Cancer finish line.

As for me, this year was my fourth Ride to Conquer Cancer and it was special because I got to ride with both of my parents. It was my dad’s first time riding and he loved it!

Learn more

These are just a few of the people who made up the team. To learn more about the Ride to Conquer Cancer or the Wheelin’ Warriors of the North, please visit:

Haylee Seiter

About Haylee Seiter

Haylee is a communications advisor for Public and Population Health. She grew up in Prince George and is proud to call Northern BC home. During university she found her passion for health promotions by volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society and became interested in marketing through the UNBC JDC West team. When she's not dreaming up communications strategies, she can be found cycling with the Wheelin Warriors or spending time with family and friends. (NH Blog Admin)

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Cycling in the north: a Warrior’s perspective

With the arrival of spring many northerners have geared up and hit the roads for this year’s bike season. What better time to reach out to cyclists across the north and get their take on biking in the region? I connected with Karin Piche, Founder of the Wheelin’ Warriors of the North and a Licensed Practical Nurse in Prince George, about cycling, her team, and why she loves biking.

When did you first get into biking?

I had ridden a bike as a kid but it wasn’t until August of 2012, two months after my dear friend Nola passed away from cancer, that I bought my first road bike. My plan was to start a local team in the BC Ride to Conquer Cancer; I’d had the idea for a while but the first step to forming a team was buying a bike and I knew nothing about bikes! Luckily I was able to find some help at a local bike shop and purchased my first bike for the Ride. This is now my sixth year riding!

Tell me a little bit about the BC Ride to Conquer Cancer.

The Ride is a two-day cycling journey through Canada’s Pacific region that takes place every summer. Each rider must raise a minimum of $2500 individually to participate in the event and all funds raised benefit the BC Cancer Foundation.

What made you keep getting on a bike?

My friend Nola. My first Ride to Conquer Cancer in June 2013 was to honour her but it was bittersweet; I got 33 other riders together to form a team that year and on day two of the event, on Nola’s actual birthday, a 16-year-old boy who was participating as a rider was tragically killed. It was traumatic for me and after going through that experience, I thought I was done with the Ride and cycling. The next year the boy’s mother rode and was a speaker at the 2014 Ride. I thought, if she can do it, I can do it. The other thing that keeps me going is the Ride family. Over the years, I’ve met many dear friends and mentors. At this time of year, I tend to get tired from all the planning of our annual fundraiser, the Free Wheelin’ Dinner and Dance. Friends and other team captains will reach out and ask how they can support me so that helps.

How does biking help you incorporate wellness into your life?

I always enjoy the fresh air when I’m out biking. For me it’s therapeutic, and clears my head, and helps me connect with nature. Being under the sky with the earth under me – it helps me enjoy the little things. When I was 49 I decided to go back to school as a nurse. That summer, I graduated as an LPN at 50 and started recruiting a team for the 2013 Ride! The nice thing about having a team is that we train together so they force me to get out more. There’s days I don’t want to ride, yet I always feel good after I go. My team motivates me that way.

Woman standing in street holding helmet.

Karin holding her coveted golden helmet – a special gift for riders who have reached their 5th Ride milestone.

In your words, what are the health benefits?

I think getting outside and being active is some of the best medicine there is! For me though, it’s the giving back and making a difference that is most beneficial. In the beginning, I was doing it for Nola but now it’s so much more than that. I’ve been blown away by the ideas that the team has come up with for fundraising. They’ve shown me that there are endless ways. Since inception in the fall of 2012, the Wheelin’ Warriors of the North have raised over $740 thousand dollars for cancer research. I think we’re very close to bringing that total to a million dollars.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get into cycling?

To anyone looking for a bike, I recommend you ask yourself what your biking needs are. Go to all the local bike shops in your community and get professional advice. Do some research and talk to people who have biked! The local bike shops in Prince George have been very supportive and I’ve definitely seen the cycling community grow since I started my team in 2013. There have been over 120 people become Wheelin’ Warriors over the years. Like me at the beginning, not many come in with a lot of biking experience.

Are there any local resources or routes you’d recommend?

Some of my favourite routes in Prince George include going out to Miworth, Blackburn (it’s so beautiful!), and out to Salmon Valley. In the north we’re very lucky to have rural riding opportunities. We don’t have as much traffic and pollution like the urban riders do. It’s definitely different.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share?

Looking back, it blows my mind how far the team has come and all the good it’s done. To me, everyone on the team is a hero. No matter what their motivation is, they’re all exceptional. I don’t think of myself that way – I just want to inspire people and make a difference.

To learn more about the Ride or the Wheelin’ Warriors of the North, please visit:

Haylee Seiter

About Haylee Seiter

Haylee is a communications advisor for Public and Population Health. She grew up in Prince George and is proud to call Northern BC home. During university she found her passion for health promotions by volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society and became interested in marketing through the UNBC JDC West team. When she's not dreaming up communications strategies, she can be found cycling with the Wheelin Warriors or spending time with family and friends. (NH Blog Admin)

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