Alberta Cancer Foundation

Riding for a Cause

By: Colleen Seto

Team NOV hopes to nearly double its fundraising impact from 2022 and raise $300,000 for the Enbridge Tour Alberta for cancer this year. Photograph courtesy of Tom Hewitt.

In the past eight years, Team NOV has raised more than $1 million for the Enbridge Tour Alberta for Cancer (formerly the Ride to Conquer Cancer), with the goal to raise another $300,000 in 2023.

Much of the team’s success is thanks to Tom Hewitt, its founder and captain. What began almost on a whim has turned into a big community effort. While out for summer drives, Hewitt became intrigued by the cyclists he saw doing the 200-kilometre trek. In 2015, he went for it. “I just felt like I should do something for others,” he recalls. “I happened to see a pamphlet about the ride, and I called [the organizers] to say I wanted to ride. They asked if I wanted to start a team. I blurted out, ‘Team NOV,’ and the team was conceived with one sole member.”

NOV is the global energy company in Calgary where Hewitt has worked for the past 25 years and is currently a senior operations director.

Since the inception of Team NOV, Hewitt has been all in. He began by recruiting his NOV co-workers, and it wasn’t long before the team was 40 members strong. And every year, the team continues to grow. What used to be a NOV-employee team has grown to include “friends, family and customers,” he says. “We also welcome lone riders who call up to do the ride.”

Like Hewitt, whose mother and father both had cancer, many of the team members are personally affected by the disease. “Everyone is very passionate about the cause and super focused on raising money,” says Hewitt. “Team NOV has morphed into something bigger. It’s more of a community team now; we like riding together, hanging out, and it’s become a lifestyle.”

Team NOV continually comes up with fundraising initiatives, including raffles, silent auctions, pub nights, garage sales and bottle drives, to keep building momentum. Their efforts even inspired the NOV Texas office to do a similar ride for multiple sclerosis — and they asked Hewitt to join their steering committee. In 2022, Hewitt and his longtime co-captain, Dan Giesinger, brought on a new co-captain, Jamie Dawson, to help further motivate the team. “We met Jamie through the ride several years ago and invited him to join our team,” Hewitt says. “He’s super pumped and dedicated to the cause — he also lost his father to cancer. Right after we crossed the finish line last year, he said, ‘Let’s raise $300K next year,’ which is nearly double what we did this year.”

Together, Hewitt, Giesinger and Dawson hope to raise more than ever and build the biggest Team NOV yet, with up to 60 riders. And for anyone unsure about whether to join the ride, Hewitt says this: “I encourage you to do it. It’s a really nice feeling to know you’ve made a difference. And you get fit, but it’s way more than that — it’s training, it’s social and you’re part of a cycling community. You get to do something to change the lives of others, and you get all these benefits.”