Ben Tsui has been a participant of the Enbridge Tour Alberta for Cancer (formerly known as the Alberta Ride to Conquer Cancer) since 2018. However, Ben has been helping his corporate team behind-the-scenes since 2016. This year, he is excited about the rebranding and hopes to carry forward the same excitement and energy, while making this tradition a uniquely-Alberta event.
Ben has three different groups that inspire him to keep coming back, continue cycling and fundraising for the Tour:
“ I tour for my Mom, my Mother-in-law, and other family and friends who have fought cancer and won, so I tour for the survivors. I have also lost family and dear friends who succumbed to their battle with cancer, so I ride for those who are no longer with us. Finally, I selfishly ride for me, and the reminder of how lucky I am to also be a survivor, and a “poster boy” for the benefits of early detection and action,” recalls Ben.
He was diagnosed with a tumor in his parotid (salivary) gland. Ben stresses the importance of self-detection while scheduling early detection as he found a lump while shaving and a needle biopsy confirmed his doubts.
“While surgical removal was the “right” course of action, it was deemed risky due to how close some facial nerves were, and there was a caution of some facial paralysis being a possibility. Thankfully, I had a very gifted surgeon who was able to remove the tumor without impacting any of the nerves in that area,” remembers Ben.
He appreciates his cancer care team at the Tom Baker Cancer Center, who diligently scheduled his regular team consultations and yearly check-ups, which allowed Ben to proudly carry the “survivor” badge and resume his life once again. His now largely faded scars are a visual reminder of this and how far he has come in his cancer journey.
Ben plans to tour on August 28th by riding along the Bow Valley pathway (Highway 1), if the weather permits.
“It is a glorious stretch of road and should be on every cyclist’s must-do list. Last year, I rode from Canmore to Lake Louise and back for an Imperial Century (100 miles, or 160 km), and would like to do that again,” reminisces Ben while talking about his previous year’s Tour experience.
He is a year-round cyclist and a cycle commuter, a promise Ben made to himself as a means to be more healthy post his cancer treatment. For those new to the challenge, he recommends two things:
“ Get in the saddle time as your backside needs more training than any other part of your body if you’re riding a long distance, and regardless of the distance you chose, break it up into smaller pieces (e.g. for a 100km ride, think of it as four 25km rides with a nice break in between each),” notes Ben.
For the past three years (2018-2020), Ben has raised about $20,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation by participating in the Tour Alberta event.
His advice for those fundraising for the first time this year is to “be genuine,” as he believes that one must have a reason to participate in the rides while asking for support.
“Also, don’t be afraid to “just ask.” I’ve been surprised how many great conversations I’ve had, or new friendships I’ve started, all because someone else had a personal connection to cancer,” says Ben.
He entrusts the Alberta Cancer Foundation to make use of his donations in the best possible way.
“I’ve typically let the Foundation help advice where the need is the greatest. If that’s spreading it around evenly, that’s great. If it needs to be weighted in one particular category for a given year, that’s OK too,” Ben signs off.
We thank Ben for his constant support and contribution to the Enbridge Tour Alberta for Cancer. Thank you for going the distance on the tour and in the cancer centres.