Eastern Ontario cyclist riding 1,000 km for pancreatic cancer research

A Sharbot Lake, Ont. woman is hitting the road, cycling on a 1,000 kilometre journey to raise money for pancreatic cancer research. It is a cause that’s close to her heart after the disease took her mother just last year.

Every time Mia Craig prepares her bike and puts on her helmet, she knows what her inspiration is.

"My mom was Marina Mauri-Morsani, she was my best friend," she says getting emotional.

The avid cyclist says it’s one of the places she can feel closest to her mother, after losing her in April of last year to pancreatic cancer. 

"I get very emotional, I have conversations with her," she says of when she’s out on the road on her bike.

 Now she’s putting her passion to good use, by cycling around southeastern Ontario raising money for pancreatic cancer awareness and research with the charity 7 Days in May

She’ll be one of 30 cyclists who will start in Oakville, cycling to Barrie, looping Owen Sound, then on to Goderich, London, Simcoe and back to Oakville. 

The journey will mean cycling an average of eight hours a day, for seven days, for a total of 1,050 kilometres. 

"We’re ready for it, I’m very excited as I speak to you today," says Craig. "More excited then nervous."

The Canadian Cancer Society says pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, with a mortality rate of 92 per cent.

"It’s going to be painful on the body. We’re going to push ourselves to the max. But no amount of pain, on this bike this week will even come close to the pain that cancer patients go through during their journey," explains Craig.

She says it was difficult to watch her mother succumb to the illness in less than three years. 

 "No matter how sick she got, she was the most positive person," says Craig. "She never complained once."

The charity has raised more than $1 million for research since launching more than a decade ago. 

In her first full ride with the group, the ride may be physically painful, but Craig says it’s also healing. 

"Connecting with people who not only have the same goal, but who have been through the same things as well," she explains. "The pain that you’ve been through. Losing a family member, it bonds you, it bonds you for life."

So far, Craig has raised thousands for the research ahead of the ride launching Saturday.