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Ponoka man joins the Great Cycle Challenge Canada to help fight kids' cancer

If there ever was a person who personified terms like 'survivor' or 'positivity' or 'sheer tenacity', it would have to be Ponoka resident Richard Bone.

For the past 11 years, he has been fighting cancer on several fronts. He was told in 2013 he had a five percent chance of living one more year.

Yet Bone fights on, building up a relentlessly positive attitude that is nothing short of inspiring for those who cross his path.

"I was a typical working guy," he recalled of the years before his initial diagnosis.

"One night at work, I started having pain under my ribs on the right side. It progressed through the evening to the point where we had to shut the job down out near Rocky."

Bone was rushed to emergency. "And I haven't been back to work since."

That was in December of 2012. "On Dec. 22, we got the official diagnosis after all kinds of tests, ultrasounds, and emergency CT scans."

It was stage four colon cancer. "From there, it was a choice of, well, I've got to fight this."

At first, the thought was that he would be able to work again in about 13 months.

"It was going to be surgery to remove two-thirds of my large intestine and aggressive chemo."

But doctors found that the cancer had spread to his liver and some lymph nodes, so they listed him as terminal in June of 2013. 

Over the years, Bone has, as mentioned, battled various and sometimes repeating forms of cancer, including bouts with bladder cancer in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2022. It was in 2022 that he had a kidney removed as well.

Also, in 2017, he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the throat, mouth, and tongue which required a 19.5 hour surgery to remove his left and right tonsils, part of his tongue, the left side of his throat, his soft pallet, and 348 lymph nodes from his neck.

But through it all, Bone has chosen to try and stay as positive as best he can.

That's a big part of why, for the past several years, he has taken part in the Great Cycle Challenge Canada - riding to help fight kids' cancer.

In just four years, he's raised $8,892 for the cause.

"The official calculations are all taken through August. Donations can be made ahead of that, but the riding component is calculated and recorded through August," he explained.

In 2023, he decided to go really big. "I upgraded my bike, and I rode from Canmore to Vancouver, raising about $6,000.

"It was a lot of fun."

Following that excursion, he had to undergo further surgery. He's again having chemotherapy treatments, and the plan is to continue with that through until the beginning of 2026.

Another source of inspiration to press on comes from his young granddaughter, Kylie.

"I want to see her grow up and achieve her milestones. I hope to see her graduate, and I hope to see her get married," he added. 

As to this year's ride, Bone said with being back on chemo, it won't be as far-reaching as in the past. 

"I'm going to do mostly local rides," he said, adding that he does hope, however, to get back to B.C.

"It won't be as epic this year, but maybe next year," he added with a laugh.

To support Bone in his fundraising efforts, head to

Folks can also keep with Bone on Facebook at 'Richard Bone - Photographer/Cancer Warrior/Survivor '.

The official kick-off for the fundraiser is Aug. 1 but fundraising has been underway for a few months, he said, adding that those interested can also watch for a special day in mid-August where a family in Toronto matches everything that is donated to the cause.

Bone is grateful for all the support he's been shown over the years, including the Lacombe-based Reds Source for Sports which has been particularly helpful with equipment. 

In the meantime, Bone's sunny perspective shines through not only in the fundraising campaign but in other aspects of life as well.

"I figured that I would take the cards I was dealt and do what I could with life," he explained. 

"If you stay positive, you stay happy. Laughter is the best medicine - it's these kinds of things that keeps me going. Also, other people reading my story or talking to me and gaining some sort of inspiration and hope. Hope is one of the big things.

"I've also gotten calls from people across the country who have said, 'Hey, I was told this - so now what?' And so we just talk.

"I want to help provide hope for others," he said, adding that a cancer diagnosis doesn't necessarily mean it's all over.

"My death sentence turned into a life sentence."










































#IAmBone #NobodyFightsAlone #iwontbackdown #TomorrowsCoffee

Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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