A husband and wife team of Beachers is training for the Ride To Conquer Cancer in June. Jasmit Bhandal and Dr. Girish Kulkarni were looking for a challenge they could share after completing a half marathon last year, and decided to try the two-day bicycle ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls.
“It’s nice to find something that we can do together,” said Bhandal. “We both found we really enjoyed the half marathon, and we want that feeling with this too.”
Although neither have cycled competitively in the past – in fact, they’re just now shopping for bikes – the ride just felt like a perfect fit.
“I haven’t done anything competitive, but I’ve always loved biking,” said Kulkarni.
Even more fitting is the fact that Kulkami is a uro-oncologic surgeon at Princess Margaret Hospital, specializing in cancers of the genitourinary organs. He is also a researcher who has looked at prostate and bladder cancer treatments and their effectiveness.
“I’ll be riding with my wife, but also with some of my patients,” he said. “It will certainly help break down some of the perceived barriers between patients and doctors.”
Kulkarni said he has seen a marked improvement in chemotherapy drugs over the last 10 years, with far fewer and less harsh side effects compared to drug treatments used not that long ago.
“That’s not possible without funds that are raised through events like this,” he said.
Kulkarni and Bhandal have been training indoors and cross training, but are hoping to get outside. Preparing for the event will involve some 80km training rides closer to the date of the actual ride, and the pair are hoping to be in great shape when they hit that point.
Possibly more difficult than the training is the fundraising. Between the two of them they hope to raise at least $5,000. While Bhandal has raised almost half of her goal of $2,500, Kulkarni is only about a quarter of the way to his matching goal. However, they don’t doubt they will reach the $5,000 mark before the ride.