Kelowna resident Keegan Hoffman continues his solo bicycling journey eastbound across Canada raising awareness for breast cancer and more specifically, BRCA1 gene mutation which has been linked to an increased risk of cancerous development. His quest began in Victoria on June 17th, and he hopes to reach St John’s, Newfoundland this month or next. The 22 year old biology major graduate got his inspiration from his mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was eight years old. She overcame that and went on to compete in multiple marathons, triathlons, and half Ironman races. The BRCA1 gene mutation is the same one that led Angelina Jolie to have a preventative double mastectomy earlier this year, which Hoffman admits was an added inspiration.
Last year his mother was diagnosed a second time while in the midst of training for another Ironman competition, yet she was able to successfully complete it. This year his mother joined him on the ride for seven days between Edmonton and Regina, using it as part of her training for yet another Ironman competition. When in Regina he updated his Facebook status advising that it was a great journey through British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. As for inclement weather conditions, he wrote “When the weather is bad I pray I am not outside, but if I am I set up my tent as quick as I can and sit in there until it passes. If it’s still early in the day I just suck it up and bike through it. I have biked through one thunder shower and a few other rainy days, but for the most part it has been beautiful weather.”
Hoffman rides six hours almost every day, carrying all his life in a trailer attached to the back of his bike, including his camping gear, a fishing rod, and a ukulele. At night he pitches a tent along the route, unless he has the opportunity to meet up with friends living along the way. He’s now making his way through Ontario, and gave me this update of his progress to date. “If you rode along Highway 17 and were not too disappointed by its poor condition, then the rest of western Canada is a piece of cake! So far Ontario has had the worst roads, mainly because there is no shoulder. Most of the other provinces have a four-foot paved shoulder with grinders separating traffic. It's been a fantastic ride so far. I've enjoyed every moment, and would absolutely recommend it.”
Hoffman has surpassed his goal of $2,000 in pledges for the B.C. Cancer Foundation, which will help research into gene mutation. Additional donations can be made via the foundation website here.
You can also follow him on Facebook until he completes his journey.