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A lark turned in to a successful charity ride

From left: Katie Kunzli, Kelsy Kunzli, Vicki Kunzli, Aimee Kunzli and Kerry Kunzli

The Donors: Vicki and Kerry Kunzli

The Gift: Raising $1.5-million and climbing

The Cause: The Canadian Cancer Society

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About six years ago, Kerry Kunzli joined 16 other cyclists for a what seemed like a crazy idea – riding 400 kilometres in one day, through two mountain passes, from Kelowna, B.C., to the Vancouver suburb of Delta. It was a bit of a lark and the group raised a few thousand dollars for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Somehow the gruelling event caught on and Kerry and his wife, Vicki, who live in Delta, have been organizing the annual Ride2Survive ever since. This year's ride, on June 18, featured 90 participants and raised more than $300,000, bringing the total raised so far to $1.5-million.

It's no easy feat. There are more than 3,600 metres of mountain climbs along the route, which takes up to 19 hours to complete.

The fundraising focus of the not-for-profit organization remains on cancer, which has touched the Kunzli family as well as most of the riders. Ride2Survive says 100 per cent of the money raised goes to cancer research; the $200 ride registration fees cover the costs of organizing the event.

"When we first started I thought 'I'm riding for my dad who passed away from cancer' and it was about the past," said Ms. Kunzli who works as a birthing coach and fitness instructor. "Somewhere along the line it started to become about the present and the future. I can't change the past, I can only change the future."

The couple's three grown daughters, Kelsy, Aimee and Katie, also help out as volunteers along with more than 50 others.

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"I see the event as such an inspiration because as a community we pull together," said Mr. Kunzli, who works for IBM.

"It's all volunteer. There are no big companies behind this. It's just a bunch of people who want to do something that's important and will make a difference to a bunch of people."

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More

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