News Story

Conquering Cancer in Alberta

The journey that connected the Sorenson family with the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer began in 2013. During a routine eye exam, doctors detected a large brain tumour in Adam. He was subsequently diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a grade IV brain cancer. Although this diagnosis was very distressing, Adam’s faith and support from his family gave him hope and courage to endure the trials to come.

Over the harrowing year that followed, Adam faced two surgeries and six weeks of radiation. He also adopted a rigorous special diet under the direction and encouragement of health-care providers at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. He will always require careful monitoring for this incurable disease, but today he is a survivor. “We believe in miracles,” expresses his father.

A few months after the cancer diagnosis, Brad came across a pamphlet describing the annual ride benefiting the Alberta Cancer Foundation. Intrigued, he wondered if this might be something his family could embrace. Adam and his older brother, Billy, received bikes for Christmas presents, and training began in earnest.

The new focus proved a powerful coping mechanism, but Brad did not initially realize that it would be three years before Adam would meet the minimum age requirement for the ride. However, no one gave up on the dream. In 2014, Adam’s parents and Billy participated in the annual ride, and the organizers invited Adam to speak at the opening ceremonies.

The training continued, and this year, Adam (now 16) was finally able to participate. The ride was a triumph. Adam completed the 200-kilometre course and raised $8,000 in donations. On his bike, he proudly carried a yellow flag, the non-verbal indication that a rider is a “survivor” or in treatment.

The sentiment that flowed down the highway along the endless string of bikes was “Let’s fill our hearts with hope and go out there and ride for the ones we’ve lost, the ones we love and the ones we don’t even know” (2017 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer training video).

With the race behind him, Adam is beginning to tackle some of his other goals — preparing for a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for university and for a career as a veterinarian. Except for his time as a missionary, Adam is determined to participate in the fundraising ride every year for the rest of his life. “I am on fresh ground — on a path that God wants me on,” he says.

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taught that finding faith in Jesus Christ will help us have the power to endure and overcome even the hardest trials in life: “If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing” (“Mountains to Climb,” April 2012 general conference).

Contributed by Valerie Harker

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