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Local cyclist takes on Ride to Conquer Cancer in memory of late wife

Memories - Battista Vendittelli cycled in the 10th annual Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer on June 10 and 11 in memory of his wife Carol Mifsud, right, who passed away in October 2016 after a long battle with cancer. They had ridden in the ride for five years, including in 2014, when this photo was taken. Advertiser file photo

Local cyclist takes on Ride to Conquer Cancer in memory of late wife

by Olivia Rutt

ERIN - This is the sixth year Battista Vendittelli of Erin cycled in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, but the first since losing his wife Carol Mifsud to cancer.

Mifsud passed away in October 2016 after a six-year battle with thyroid cancer that spread throughout her body.

Both were active participants in the ride.

Vendittelli said his wife was with him during the entire 200-plus-kilometre cycling journey from Toronto to Niagara Falls on June 10 and 11.

“During the full two days, she was there with me because I swear sometimes she was pushing me,” he said.

In its 10th year, the Ride to Conquer Cancer in Toronto raised over $20.5 million for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, bring the total raised to more than $175 million.

Over 5,000 riders met on June 10 for the opening ceremony at Exhibition Place, where they heard from inspirational speakers.

Vendittelli said the ceremony was difficult for him.

“It’s very emotional for everyone there, because we’re all there for a cause, for the same reason,” he said.

“It was tough to be there, listening to everybody.”

Vendittelli said the past eight months have been hard for him.

“My whole life since October when [Carol] passed away has been, I call it my double-edged sword,” he said.

“Everything I’ve done, which is in her benefit and in her honour, is great and yet, I hate why I’m doing it.”

Vendittelli, with the help of fundraising from the community and Mifsud’s family, friends and colleagues, sponsored a paediatric room in his wife’s honour at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, where Mifsud worked.

Many memories came flooding back during the opening ceremony of the Ride to Conquer Cancer, he said.

“I loved being there, I loved the cause and everybody was there for that, but it was raw to be there,” he said.

Mifsud was a speaker at the 2015 ride event, hoping to inspire people to keep pushing.

“But there is nothing I can do to change my outcome. I am terminally ill, but at least I can be a representation for others who think they can’t really do anything,” Mifsud said in a 2015 interview with the Advertiser.

Vendittelli said Mifsud’s diagnosis was the reason they started participating in the ride six years ago.

He added that he hates the disease, but events like the Ride to Conquer Cancer can show that people can help in little ways.

June 16, 2017


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