Two first-year Western students left London in early May to spend their summer pedalling their way across the country to raise awareness for prostate cancer.
More than 4,600 kilometres later, Taylor Scholz and Willy Konantz, both 19, rolled into Vancouver with a huge smile on their faces, and an even bigger cheque for the Vancouver Prostate Centre – $265,000.
The two created Gear West: Our Ride for Men, and were inspired by Konantz’s father and Western alumnus Don Konantz, MBA’91, who was diagnosed at age 48 with advanced prostate cancer.
“Several people close to us, including my father, were getting diagnosed with prostate cancer. In addition, Step Into Action, Dr. Riley Senft’s cross Canada run for Prostate Cancer Research, was fresh in our minds,” said Konantz. “This started as an ambitious thought – friends laughed, family members doubted – but the two of us were committed. Over a couple pints, we mapped out our ride and specified our goals. This idea was turning into reality.”
Friends Mikhail Zalesky and Yongku Jung travelled with the pair for support, and the team averaged 180 km per day, six days a week. With a modest goal of raising $50,000, the final tally made the long days more than worthwhile for Konantz and Scholz.