Cyclist Lynn Laforest of Markstay-Warren honoured the memory of her late father, Roger Laforest, while also raising an impressive amount to fight cancer. After losing her father in October of 2020, she decided to cycle 270 km through West Nipissing and Sudbury East, with the goal of raising $3,000 in pledges.
She nearly tripled that amount, getting almost $9,000 from donors throughout the area, something she credits to the love and respect her father elicited from many local friends through hockey, his work as a Handi-Transit driver for kids with disabilities, and his gregarious personality.
On Saturday morning, August 28, the Warren Fire Department, Markstay-Warren Councillor Bob Amyotte and Liberal candidate for Nickel Belt Marc Serré, along with a host of friends, turned out at 7:30 a.m. to cheer on Laforest as she took off on her journey.
“I just wanted to honour my father at the same time,” she related, saying that many people have suffered when family members died during COVID lockdowns, without being able to properly celebrate their lives. “I talked to him in my head and said, ‘We’re going to do this!’ There are lot of people hurting through COVID because they weren’t able to be there for their loved ones. This is a connection for me. And also, to raise money for a cure for cancer.” She added her primary objective was just to have people honk, raise a balloon, and recognize the effort.
Her two-day tour took her through Warren to Verner on Hwy 17, up to Field, down to Sturgeon Falls, across to Cache Bay, then on LeClair Rd to Hwy 64 to Noëlville, and on to Hagar. The next day she started in Verner towards Noëlville, onto Hwy 525 to Hagar and along Hwy 17 to the Markstay firehall.
After the Saturday morning send off in Warren, organized by Bob and Marlene Amyotte, the weather threatened some rain, but Laforest said she found it refreshing. “It was good. After I left, the ride on Hwy 17 towards Verner, the weather was really good, traffic was respectful.”