By Doug Hallett
Cycling 200 kilometres in two days isn’t easy under any circumstances.
It’s even harder when a foot-long scar on a leg signifies cancer surgery that removed a large section of muscle.
But that’s what Larry Priamo of Guelph plans to do on June 7 and 8 when he takes part in the seventh annual Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, a benefit for Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, where he received his radiation treatments.
Priamo, 58, will cycle from Toronto to Niagara Falls with his son, Tim, 26, a former Guelph Storm and U of G Gryphons hockey player.
They’ll do it over two days, with a night of camping, raising over $5,000 in the process.
Priamo was diagnosed two years ago with sarcoma cancer in his thigh.
When the cancer was surgically removed in October 2012, about 40 per cent of his quad muscle was also removed from his right leg, resulting in the long scar on the upper front of that leg. Last August, he was strong enough to take up cycling.
“I felt it was a good way to get active,” he says. “I really can’t run because of the scar tissue.”
Back in the 1980s he cycled regularly with friends, including some long-distance jaunts. However, “once I had children to look after, I hung up the bike for 20-plus years. That type of biking, anyway,” says the south end resident, who has four daughters and a son.
One of his daughters, Andrea Priamo, just finished her rookie season playing basketball for Queen’s University, where she was named to the OUA (Ontario University Athletics) East all-rookie team.
Earlier this month, Priamo rode his bike to Stratford – 82 kilometres each way – on a weekend to watch another daughter play softball.
He says he started training for his first Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer after Christmas, riding a stationary bike until it was finally warm enough to ride outside.
“It’s been good for me. Since I started training I lost 25 pounds,” he says, adding with a smile that about 10 of those pounds were “Christmas cheer” extra weight that he gained over the holidays and likely would have shed in any event.
Participants in the ride each have to raise at least $2,500 for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Priamo says he and his son will both exceed that number. He raised the bulk of his money through pledges of donations gathered online from friends and other people, “so I don’t need to go knocking on doors.”
Priamo, who works from home for a telecommunications firm, said the Guelph Storm helped his son raise funds by donating ticket vouchers for next season and a signed hockey stick for Tim Priamo to raffle off.
Anyone wanting to donate can do so using this link to the Ride to Conquer Cancer donation page.
Priamo’s link is http://bit.ly/1mFvaYs