A trio of cyclists. Three different stories. One common goal.

Jeff Cook describes his dad as his best friend and mentor. “He was everything to me,” he says. Jeff’s father died in May 2023 at Victoria Hospice. 

As he grieved, Jeff wanted to find the right way to honour his dad’s memory. The 200-km Cycle of Life Tour to support hospice care on Vancouver Island was a natural choice: Jeff’s dad was a big fan of endurance events.

“On his last night, we sat around telling stories and we all laughed. He smiled widely at each memory,” says Jeff. “I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without hospice and for that, I am forever indebted.” 

In 2023, Jeff joined the cycling team “Them Think Boyz”, named after Think Communications, the tour’s title sponsor. 

Company president and owner, Tony Woods, rides with the team every year. Like Jeff, Tony also got involved to honour a parent. Tony’s stepdad was like a second dad. Fiercely protective of those he loved, “He taught us right from wrong,” says Tony. 

When his stepdad was dying from cancer in 2013, palliative care staff went out of their way to accommodate the whole family: giving space for a birthday barbecue, then as much time as they needed in the room with him after he died. 

“They listened with tons of empathy,” says Tony. It taught him the value of having the right supports during this critical time. 

Sponsoring the Cycle of Life Tour was a no brainer, he says. “I love the ride. It’s such a diverse route and there are lots of returning riders, so we start to get to know everybody.” 

One of those long-time riders on the team is Dean Robertson. He lost his mother to cancer in 2016. “My mom was a loving person and family was the most important thing,” he says. She was admitted to a hospice near her home on the mainland. Soon after, she lost her ability to speak, leaving the family unsure of how to connect. The hospice nurse explained, “Your mom can still hear you, so talk to her as much as possible” Dean recalls. “If it wasn’t for that gentle advice, the last few days would have been so arduous.” 

The care, compassion, and empathy Dean’s mother and the whole family received was incredible, he says. “The nurses and staff were nothing short of angels. It’s a cliché but it is the only appropriate way to describe it.” The Cycle of Life Tour is something Dean looks forward to every year. 

With just a little time left before this year’s ride, Tony’s team is busy training and fundraising. 

“It baffles me that our healthcare is fully funded when we’re born, while we live our lives, but in our last moments in hospice, when we need it most, they have to fundraise every year in order to meet the financial budget,” he says. 

Dean also feels strongly about supporting the services of hospice. “This is one of the most important experiences any family can go through,” he says. “I want to support other families going through it as best as I can.” 

The 2024 Cycle of Life Tour takes place July 20-21. Support hospice care on Vancouver Island via  Team Them Think Boyz’s fundraising page or any Cycle of Life Tour rider before July 21.