The father-and-daughter team of Andrew and Stephanie Torriani have got a bicycle built for two to take on the challenge of the upcoming Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer.

“She’s got this kind of anticipation that’s a mixture of fear, I think, and excitement,” the co-chairman of the 2019 edition of The Ride said about his 20-year-old daughter, who has Down syndrome. “I think it’s going to be great. It’s going to be great for her self-confidence as well. That’s always important for me, too. I think it’s going to be really fun and I think for her the pleasure she gets of doing this stuff is just a powerful feeling.”

The Torriani tandem bike is part of a family affair as Andrew’s wife, Arlene Hauck-Torriani, and their 19-year-old son, William, will also take part in the two-day fundraising ride to Quebec City on July 6-7.

“I think it’s a fabulously organized event,” said Torriani, who is the president and CEO of the Ritz-Carlton Montreal hotel. “This is the 11th edition. It’s something that I’ve done a number of times now, I think I’m on my fifth, and we’re raising money to fight cancer. You know, one in two people in their lifetime will probably be touched by it in some form or another. And what I particularly like about how this particular ride is run is that it’s well-planned, it’s safe. They’ve pretty well thought of everything and they make it very familial.

“So the first year I did it with my son. And then after that, my son and I did it a couple of times, then my wife joined in. And now this last year Steph kind of asked me whether she could give it a try. She’s always been a really competitive individual. I think it will be harder at the end of the ride. I think that’s where it will be a little bit more complicated because of fatigue. I think the first day we’ll get through pretty easily. She’s done already with me a number of rides at about 25 kilometers, which is what every rest stop is about.”

The Ride to Conquer Cancer event series has raised nearly $421 million for partners in Canada since 2008. That includes nearly $56 million raised through The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, which supports vital cancer research, treatment, care and prevention programs at the Jewish General Hospital and its partners across Quebec.

“Our family’s been lucky,” said Torriani, who co-chaired The Ride with chef Antonio Park in 2017. “We haven’t had a cancer in our family but one of our very close friends died of breast cancer at a very young age. And that had a big impact, so that’s sort of why we embarked on it.”

Information for potential participants and contributors is available on the website.

“The links are really well set up and what’s nice is you can direct where your money goes,” Torriani said. “They let you actually direct your money to the type of cancer research that’s being done. About 10 per cent of the riders are either going through treatments in some way or have survived cancer. And it’s really incredible to watch when you see these people and listen to their stories, you know, and listen to people that have been cured and they’re just so happy to do something like this. I think every time you go there you meet someone and you say, ‘Wow, I’m lucky. And the more I can do to help, the better,’ because there’s always somebody there who’s in a much, much worse position than you or your family is. This is a great cause and this is something that if you can help just a bit, it’s going to make a difference.”

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