Alberta Cancer Foundation

Cycling through the ups and downs of cancer

Pedal Partners: Wayne Foo and his wife Lynne Marshall enjoyed cycling the world together. The pair is shown with dog Chica at a past Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer.

Wayne Foo was nervous. He has cycled for 45 years, sometimes clocking in dozens of miles in a single trip. But as he perched on his bike at the start of Calgary’s 2013 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, he knew he was in for a tough ride.

“The connection to cycling is something we shared,” says Wayne Foo of his late wife Lynne Marshall.

He hadn’t had time to train. All his energy had gone to caring for his wife Lynne Marshall, who was diagnosed with the brain cancer, Glioblastoma, a few months earlier.

Marshall had watched her father die of Glioblastoma years earlier. The disease isn’t typically genetic, but Marshall had a gut feeling it would inevitably take her, too. When her father died, she told Foo: “I want to squeeze as much life out of this body as I can.” And she did. The couple started two international companies – Marshall a lobbyist, Foo the president of an oil and gas exploration company. They cultivated a large network of friends, and they explored the world together from a bicycle seat.

“The connection to cycling is something we shared,” says Foo.

So when doctors found a tumour on Marshall’s brain in December 2012, Foo says, “it just seemed logical” that he join the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer to raise funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. By the time he started the ride in August 2013, he had raised more than $81,000. But then he had to complete the two-day journey – and he was intimidated. “My goal was to survive,” he says.

Once Foo got going, he enjoyed the ride. As he cycled near the Rocky Mountains, he thought of the full life he and his wife had shared: breakfasts overlooking the French countryside, cycling trips in Hawaii.

Marshall watched from the sidelines, checking in at stops along the route. “She was riding with me,” Foo says. She died a few months later, in February 2014.

Foo signed up for the Ride again this year, and has made a personal gift to fund, in perpetuity, the “Lynne Marshall & Wayne Foo Clinical Fellow in Gliobastoma. “It will serve as a legacy,” he says. “Not just of Lynne, but also of the way we went jointly through the disease.”