For Simon Roberts, cycling is many things. It’s a way to stay in shape and to compete in a sport that he loves. It’s a lifestyle activity that gives him the opportunity to connect with friends and travel to new and interesting places. And cycling gives him a chance to follow his passion for raising money for medical causes.

In 2015 Simon teamed up with the QEII Foundation and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada to organize a cycling ride that would impact health care in Nova Scotia. It’s a cause that’s close to his heart. His first wife worked for the QEII Foundation before losing her life to cancer.

On September 19, Simon was proudly at the front of the pack when more than 130 riders participated in the inaugural Ride the Rails for Cancer event. Using the abandoned railway system, the Rails to Trails, cyclists rode one of three distances: 100 kms from Bayers Lake to Mahone Bay, 50 kms from Hubbards to Mahone Bay, or 25 kms from Chester to Mahone Bay. Each rider displayed extraordinary commitment, raising a minimum of $1,000 each.

Powered by BMO Bank of Montreal and with support from many other sponsors and volunteers, participants were treated with refreshments and words of encouragement along the way. The beautiful sunshine and charm of the South Shore added to the success of the day.

As event chair, Simon was very pleased with the funds raised from the daylong event - more than $175,000 in support of Atlantic Canadians facing a blood cancer diagnosis. These funds will purchase life-saving equipment for the QEII's Medical Day Unit, as well as enhance blood cancer research and patient support programs in Atlantic Canada.

Tom Lee was one rider who was smiling proud throughout his 100 km ride. Tom was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma in 2008, and endured multiple rounds of chemo, radiation and then a bone marrow transplant two years ago. As a father of five and the assistant coach of the Saint Mary’s University Huskies hockey team, physical fitness has always been a big part of Tom’s routine.

Tom says blood cancer research hasn’t been as extensive as some other types of cancer research. He’s among the dedicated volunteers working to change that. He gives much of the credit to his friend Joe DiPenta and the team at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada for the progress that’s already been made. “I like the fact that we’re building momentum and heightening the awareness of these cancers,” he says.

Simon and his committee already have plans for a bigger, better event next year. For more information about the 2016 ride, visit