Retired Windsor-Essex trainer rides to beat childhood most cancers

A hobby enjoyed by a retired Windsor-Essex schoolteacher has become a mission to help kids beat cancer.

Martin O’Gorman is using long-distance cycling to raise money for cancer research at Toronto’s SickKids Hospital. This week, he is riding his bicycle from Amherstburg to Rimouski, Quebec, intending to raise thousands of dollars.

The 60-year-old O’Gorman taught English and French at St Anne’s Catholic High School and FJ Brennan Catholic High School. He told that the trip puts together two of his biggest loves.

“It combines two things that are very important to me, helping others and riding a bike to do it,” said O’Gorman. “Three years ago, I set a goal of 1,000 kilometers through the Great Cycle Challenge. You set your own goal, and you reach out to your friends and family and try to get sponsors. All the money goes to research children’s cancer treatments and cures.”

O’Gorman has planned to complete the entire ride in 15 days. As of Wednesday evening, he has raised over $6,600, according to his fundraising webpage.

While he has no direct connection with SickKids, O’Gorman called the ride personal. He lost his first wife to ovarian cancer, and two of his friends have also had devastating losses.

“I decided that I wanted to take on something that wasn’t all about me, something that was unique, and I wanted to do it for that reason,” said O’Gorman. “It’s certainly connected to students I’ve seen being treated at SickKids. I’ve gone through a lot of difficult times, and two friends of mine have lost children to childhood cancers.”

O’Gorman had completed 1,000 kilometers of a 1,600-kilometre trip as of Wednesday night. His current wife Michelle has accompanied him to provide support and supplies.

Cyclists are encouraged to register for the Great Cycle Challenge by visiting its official website.

For those wanting to support O’Gorman on his mission, donations are accepted on his webpage.

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