This August, Dolly Abney will be joining the Tour de Cure in the Fraser Valley to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.
In July 2021, Dolly’s husband, Don, was diagnosed with mantle cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma, an exceedingly rare form of cancer for which there is no cure. But research and efforts by groups like the BC Cancer Foundation have made strides towards improving outcomes for people like Don.
“I thought that this was a way that I could make a difference,” said Abney. “I just want to bring awareness about this disease and the incredible work BC Cancer is doing. If he had this diagnosis even five years ago, the outcome may not have been as positive as it is now.
“Now we have tests that can detect it, new treatments like T-cell transfers and there are other clinical trials going on right now.”
Since Don’s diagnosis, he has been receiving treatment in Penticton, Kelowna and Vancouver and the couple recently returned to the Okanagan from another treatment session in Vancouver.
While she was in the Penticton hospital, Dolly struck up a conversation with the oncologist, who had been doing the Tour de Cure with their team, Cyclotherapy, and was invited to join them.
“There’s so many reasons why this is a good thing for me because cycling, obviously helps me with my stress level and it’s for a wonderful cause,” said Abney.
Both Don and Dolly have competed in triathlons over the years, including the Penticton IronMan in 2012, and the Tour De Cure will be a return to some of that athletics. This time, it will be harder, and not just because Dolly has grown older.
“It’s hard because Don and I have always done everything together,” said Abney. “All of our training was done together for IronMan, all of our races we did together. At our last IronMan, he waited at the finish line for over an hour for me, just so he could hold my hand while we crossed the finish line.
“I just want to be there for him and to offer him as much support as I can through this to just let him know that he’s going get through this, and the family’s going to get through this.”
A week before the Tour de Cure this year, Don and Dolly will be celebrating their 36th anniversary together. The Abney’s three children, all born and raised in Penticton, will also be cheering their parents on.
While the money that is raised is important and goes to a good cause, Abney hopes the more people who hear about the work and research and the progress being made that they can have more hope they have their own cancer diagnosis.
“I just want people to know how things are getting better. We need that hope we need to know that the money going towards cancer research is really making a difference.”
So far, Abney has raised over $6,400 for cancer research through the Tour de Cure.
Anyone who wants to contribute and support Abney’s Tour de Cure fundraising can do so through the Tour de Cure site at tourdecure.ca/participant/2885695/4014/
The Tour de Cure, which is a multi-distance cycling event, takes place on August 27 in the Fraser Valley.
Other riders interested in participating and raising money for the BC Cancer Foundation can still sign up and join the Tour de Cure online at tourdecure.ca.
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