Eesti Elu
Cycling in Memory of a Great Friend. “Erik’s Long & Winding Road” (2)
Eestlased Kanadas 02 Jun 2011 T. KüttiEesti Elu
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On Saturday June 11 and Sunday June 12, when many of us will be sitting on the cottage dock, or in our backyard, sipping a cold beverage, four young adults will be cycling 200 km. across Ontario to raise funds for cancer research. The “Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer” is a cycling event that raises research funds for the Campbell Family Institute at the Princess Margaret Hospital, one of the top five cancer research centres in the world.

4,000 Riders, 1 Great Cause.

The “Ride to Conquer Cancer” is a two-day event that starts in Toronto and heads to Hamilton on Day One. It wraps up in Niagara Falls on Day Two. Approximately 4,000 cyclists will start from Toronto’s Exhibition grounds, cycling to Mohawk College where they will spend Saturday night in tents. On Sunday they will wrap up their Ride with a huge BBQ once they have completed their adventure.

“We Just Need to Do This”

Kristina Põldre is Captain of the four-member team and is the driving force that rallied the other cyclists to join her on this adventure. Kristina is a student at McMaster University in Hamilton and a year ago, during final exams in April 2010, she saw fellow MacMaster students selling t-shirts with the slogan “Dream Big”, in support of last year’s Ride. She was impressed and amazed at their courage and motivation, to participate in such a grueling event.

Four short months later, in the late-summer months of 2010, Kristina saw her good friend Erik Saun, at local Estonian community events. Erik had been diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2009. Following a night of Beatles music at the Estonian House, with Erik and his many friends, Kristina decided that participating in the “Ride to Conquer Cancer” next year, was one small way that she could help in the effort to help find a cure to this terrible illness.

Assembling the Team

The “Ride to Conquer Cancer” is a serious event that requires riders to be fit and committed to the cause. Each participant registering for the Ride is expected to raise a minimum of $2,500 in sponsorship or pay that amount from their own pocket. This helps ensure that the event raises sufficient funds to justify the organizers’ efforts and guarantees significant funds are raised to support the research initiatives.

At the wake following Erik Saun’s passing in September of 2010, Kristina introduced her idea and invited friends of Erik to join the cause. Many friends expressed initial interest however the prospect of raising $2,500, obtaining a good bicycle and getting fit for the Ride were deterrents for many of those who expressed initial interest. Registration for the June, 2011 event was to close in November, 2010, so Kristina had to move quickly.

Erik’s brother, Tomas Saun was the first to join the team and they registered as a duo. They named their team “Erik’s Long & Winding Road” in honour of Erik’s love of Beatles’ music and to acknowledge the rough road in Erik’s twelve month battle with cancer.

Erik’s and Tomas’s cousin, Karli Saaliste, was the next to sign on in October. Just before the November close for registrations, Tiina Hiis joined the team, to make it a foursome. A small team has made fund-raising somewhat easier among friends and members of the local Estonian community, avoiding duplication and overlap with requests for support.

Getting ready for the Ride.

All four team members are relatively new to cycling. The winter months have included training in various ways. Kristina has participated in Spinning and Yoga classes while at MacMaster. This was followed by endurance training, riding a stationary bike. The others have followed comparable training regimens.

The four riders are not sure if they will ride together or will each one ride at their own pace? Reportedly, rest stops are available every 25 to 30 kms along with massage services and plenty of nutritious food at the Mohawk College overnight camp. Regardless of how their trip unfolds, they will have an opportunity to compare notes after the first day and they will have a lifetime of memories to cherish, once they reach Niagara Falls and complete their Ride.

Your turn to get involved!

Become a Friend on Facebook at “Erik’s Long & Winding Road”. Check out pictures of Erik and the cyclists on Facebook as well.

Now, open your wallet in support of this cause and to remember Erik Saun. All money donated goes directly into research immediately at Princess Margaret Hospital. The donated money does not sit in a bank account or an investment account.

Online donation is easy and quick. Credit card donations are acknowledged immediately and an income tax receipt is sent in response. Please visit the Team’s home page at: to make your donation. Or visit:, then click on Ontario and enter the team’s name “Erik’s Long & Winding Road”. At this website, you can also print out a paper donation form and mail in your contribution with a cheque.

Lastly, donations can also be made to the Team’s bank account the Estonian (Toronto) Credit Union. Please call them at 416-465-4659 and ask to have them transfer an amount from your bank account to the Team’s account, number 128 030. To ensure that you receive an income tax receipt, please provide your name and address to the Credit Union staff.

These four young adults are making a difference! I encourage you to do the same!
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