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From Toronto to Washington: The Bike Ride to Fight Cancer

Shalom Life speaks to Tom Peled during his second annual 'Bike for the Fight', as he bikes across the coast of Canada and the US to raise funds for cancer research

By: Daniel Koren
Published: September 3rd, 2013 in News » World
Tom Peled embarks on the Bike for the Fight tour at a Jewish summer camp in Toronto

Two years ago, 25-year-old Tom Peled lost his father to a rare form of stomach cancer. Faced with the most difficult period of his adult life, he decided to embark on a long distance bike ride. A few months later he made his way over to Germany, and for three months, he trekked across Europe on his bike, sharing his story with everyone he met.

Peled later discovered that promoting awareness of the necessity to invest in cancer research really helped with his healing process.

Two years later, and he's already begun his second long-distance journey across the coast of Canada and the United States to raise funds for cancer research as CEO of Bike for the Fight, an initiative he founded in 2011.

Peled and his team are expected to raise well over $100,000 on the second annual Bike for the Fight, which will be donated to the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), enough for three grants for respected Israeli scientists to perform one year of cancer research.


(Peled with Israeli President Shimon Peres)

"I was looking for an organization that was well known and respected, and happened to talk to Eric Heffler [National Executive Director at the ICRF]," Peled tells me over the phone on the third day of his ride, just after he crossed the border in Niagara Falls ("I've never seen so much water in my life," he marvelled.) "We automatically linked, and even though back then I had no fundraising experience of any kind, he really saw the energy and potential in this project, and it all developed from there."

"After that first ride in Europe, the fact that I was sharing my story really helped me get out of the situation I was in," he adds. "The fact that it gave people the opportunity to experience my story, that's why I liked the idea of doing another bike ride, that it's not just for myself but a universal cause that is important to people."

I later learned that Peled and two other members of his six-member team (Eran Rozen, Ron Ben-Yishai, Eldar Noyman, Miriam Young and Inbal Brakha) rode over 90 km (60 miles) that day. They had experienced rain, but faced with a beautiful terrain, and an honourable cause, Peled and co. arrived in New York, where the reception they received continued to exceed their wildest expectations.


(The Bike for the Fight team)

"Because this was our second year, I was kind of nervous that the response wouldn't be as positive as last year," Peled tells me, adding, "when we left Israel last year we had 15 events planned, and finished with more than 60 because of the amount of people that wanted to get involved and meet us."

"But so far," he continues, "it's been even more amazing. We've had such wonderful support from the community, and people that have been helping us along the way." He then told me that just the previous day a person got in contact with him to offer the Bike for the Fight team a place to stay for the night because he was going to be away.

"Don't spend money on the motel, he told us," Peled recalled, "you can take my house, here's the code."

You could hear from his appreciative tone that he was obviously touched by the experience.

"It's really unimaginable because we are doing something for a good cause, and people are so ready to get involved. Also, due to the fact that we are all Jewish, there is this unbelievable connection once you enter someone's home, even someone you've only known for a few hours," he says.

"It's this remarkable display of the strong ties that exist between Canada and Israel, and between Jewish people all over the world."

Just like last year, throughout the Bike for the Fight Peled and co. will pass through several Jewish communities, stopping at summer camps, schools, synagogues and the like, raising awareness of the need to raise funds for cancer research, and encouraging others to support this important and relatable cause.

"We kicked off this year's tour in Toronto at a Jewish summer camp," Peled recalls. "It was very meaningful. All the kids made signs and ran with us, cheering us on for the first part of the ride.

Related articles: Jewish News, Cancer, Bike for the Fight, Health News, Cancer Research, Tom Peled, ICRF
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