News

Looks like pink isn’t just for mean girls anymore

Three Ottawa friends cycled 1000Km to fight breast cancer. Photo courtesy of William McRae

Three Ottawa natives set out to use their passion for cycling to raise $10,000 for breast cancer research on July 20.

William McRae, Trevor Poulsen, and Jonathan Boutin made the 1,000 kilometre journey from Ottawa to Campbellton, New Brunswick in just five days. Considering the 2015 Tour de France was a total of 3360 km over 23 days, it’s an impressive feat.

“We’ve been biking for years now, and I mean fairly serious biking…we had done a few distances like that, but nothing ever as big as a 1000 kilometres,” said McRae, a Campbellton native and University of Ottawa alumnus. “But, we always told each other ‘we should do something pretty significant at one point’ so I asked why don’t we go to my house?’”

His house happens to be in New Brunswick.

McRae has a personal connection to breast cancer, as his grandmother passed away two years before he was born. Breast cancer was important to McRae’s cycling companions as well, whose loved ones have also been impacted by the disease.

The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that 25,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. This represents 26 per cent of all new cancer cases in women in 2015.

The trio then needed a name that would catch people’s attention.

“We came up with the name Tough Guys Wear Pink because we could also easily translate it to Costauds en rose, which pretty much means the same thing,” said McRae. “We wanted to make a fully bilingual campaign, including the face of the campaign which would be that name.”

Even though it was only the three of them, they found plenty of support along the way.

During their bike route, the group encountered a cyclist who, upon learning their cause, offered to cycle in front of the group, which made the work lighter for them.

They had to increase their 32 km per hour speed to match him and pedalled behind him for an hour.

Despite the difficulty of the task itself, the group had a good trip. They reached their $10,000 goal the day after they finished their bike ride.

“We have lot of friends and family of all three parts who were just really supportive and generous to thank for. We had this massive anonymous donation of $1,000 so that’s special too.”

McCrae strongly encourages others to use their passion to give back to others.

“We’re three young guys that have chosen to stay healthy, and have chosen to do good with something that we’re passionate about. If you’re young, capable, and willing to do anything, just do it. You can easily give back by doing something you really like. For us it was cycling.”

100 per cent of the money raised goes to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada. The three friends haven’t decided on their next adventure, but if this last one was any indication, you can bet they’ll go big!

If you would like to donate to the Tough Guys Wear Pink campaign, click here.