92-year-old blind cyclist hits the road to raise money for cancer research
TORONTO -- Ever since he was in his early 80s, Bill Wall has participated in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, a charity bike ride from Toronto to Niagara.
Age has never held Wall back, nor has the fact that he lost his vision in 2003. He always rides on a tandem bike with a partner, who helps guide the way.
Now 92, Wall says he’s worried that COVID-19 will hurt donations for the important cause. That’s why, despite health problems sidelining him for the past two years, he’s spent months training to hit the road one last time in hopes of boosting funds for cancer research.
"I lost my eyesight, but I haven't lost my vision. I'm going to keep driving at this,” Wall told CTV News.
For Wall, the race is personal. He has lost friends and family to cancer, and he is concerned that, amid the pandemic, some Canadians may not be thinking about the fact that more than 80,000 Canadians die of cancer each year.
Regardless, Wall’s goal is as ambitious as ever. He’s already hit his $10,000 fundraising goal but hopes to push that number even higher.
His team’s name is, fittingly, “the Power of Bill.”
“It's a tough year, a lot of people that aren't working and so on, but any amount, it doesn't matter, every dollar counts and every dollar can be that much closer to conquering cancer.”
To keep in shape, Wall hits the stationary bike for 40-minute stints five days each week and lifts weights to keep his strength up. He and his cycling partner, Don Nadeau, plan to ride more than 50 kilometres from Niagara to Fort Erie and back again.
The charity ride will look much different this year. The Ride to Conquer Cancer will take place on Saturday, August 29, but instead of shutting down streets for cyclists, the ride is going virtual. Organizers are billing the event as a “borderless” ride that can accommodate both indoor or outdoor cyclists.
Since 2008, the event has raised more than $213.2 million for Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto.