Cancer survivors celebrated at Tour des Chutes

10th annual event includes those now in fight of their livs

Survivors celebrated at 10th annual Tour des Chutes

BEND, Ore. - "The ride, the run and the inspiration" was the message of the 10th annual Tour des Chutes Bike Ride and Run in Bend on Saturday.

With 1,500 cyclists and 150 runners and walkers this year, the event continues to grow annually.

"This happens to be one of those amazing causes that you just can't help but be a part of and smile while you do it," said Kay Jaskolski.

People of all ages were a part of that cause, to help bring awareness (and funding) to the fight against cancer.

Gary Bonacker, who battled brain cancer, was inspired to create the ride after participating in the Ride for Roses in Austin, Texas. He thought the people of Bend would get behind it, for one simple reason.

"There's a union that takes place with everyone, and that is everyone knows somebody with cancer," Bonacker said.

The ride was filled with people honoring those who have battled the "Big C." One man who rode Saturday beat prostate cancer, and said the battle gave him a whole new perspective on life.

"Every day since October 2006 has been a gift," Mike Gibson said. "So believe me, I don't forget that, each and every single day."

The survivors who participated were presented with yellow roses once they crossed the finish line. 

"It means a lot to them, because they can think back as to when they were diagnosed, to maybe where they are cancer-free," Bonacker said.

Jaskolski, who beat breast cancer in 2001, said it's humbling to see all the people rally around the cause.

"It's amazing to watch everyone here who's currently going through chemo, has experienced it, knows what it's about, and just showing up every single day just because," she said.

Jaskolski also had a special message for anyone battling cancer today.

"Turn to your family and know that the light at the end of the tunnel is there," Jaskolski said.

If you weren't able to attend and would like to donate, you can do so online at the organization's Website:

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