Moncton East MLA biking from Vancouver to Halifax for kids with cancer

Moncton East MLA Chris Collins lost his 13-year-old son to cancer six years ago.Moncton East MLA Chris Collins, 50, is biking across the country to raise money for kids with cancer.

Starting this Thursday, Collins will be biking from Vancouver to New Brunswick — a 7,000-kilometre ride — as part of the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride.

The trip, which will help fund cancer research and programs that improve the lives of children living with the disease, is expected to end in Halifax on September 21.

"I'm a member of a peloton — or team — that will do 165 kilometres a day, and I'm on the bike for 165 kilometres," Collins told CBC News. "There's another peloton that does 235 kilometres. So combined we do 400. And then we leapfrog over each other throughout the country."

He's raised over $59,000 of his $60,000 goal so far.

"It's time to eradicate childhood cancer. It's time that all children had the chance to grow up," he wrote on his fundraising page.

Six years ago, Collins and wife, Lisette, lost their 13-year-old son, Sean, after a four-year battle with cancer.

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"You never get over the loss of a child, you just get a little better at it every day — contending with it. You know, I think that this ride will personally take me a little further in that journey as well. It’s going to be quite a cathartic event, very emotional," he told CBC News.

Collins estimates that his family spent a quarter of a million dollars on expenses related to his son's treatment — including parking, accommodations and meals — and recognizes that not all families have access to the same kinds of assistance his family did.

"I hope to help ease the financial burden for families of sick children in New Brunswick," he told YMCA Moncton. "Not a day goes by that we don't think about Sean. This is something I felt I could do to raise awareness about children's cancer in New Brunswick."

"We're really counting on people to get involved for this important cause," he added.

(Photo courtesy CBC)