Burnaby dad who lost daughter, 5, to cancer raising money to end chemo

'She was a five-year-old kid and she just wanted to ride her bike.'

Emma loved to ride her bike. 

Not even brain cancer, surgery and round after round of chemotherapy could keep her from riding. 

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“She would do it at the hospital when she was attached to every type of tube,” Emma’s dad, Adam Radziminski, recalls. “There was even a point where she couldn't leave her room and they had brought in a stationary bike for her ride.”

Emma’s valiant fight against the disease – surgery followed by six rounds of chemo over six months – was his inspiration to join the Ride to Conquer Cancer in 2017. 

By that time, “She was out of hospital and at home and starting to lead a normal five-year-old's life,” he says.

emma radziminski

Radziminski raised some $11,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation as he rode from Vancouver to Seattle that year, fuelled by the promise of seeing Emma at the finish line, with his wife Sarah and son Matthew. 

“Unfortunately that was the only ride I'll ever get to do that I saw her at the finish line for,” the North Burnaby resident says. 

That December, a routine MRI found the cancer had returned. It was untreatable. She died three months later at age five. 

Radziminski says he lost “a really loving child” who was “always easy” and loved her little brother, going to school, swimming and, of course, riding her bike.  

He joined the Ride to Conquer Cancer again in 2018, raising some $25,000. And he’s riding once again this year, closing in on a three-year total of $50,000.

This year, he’ll be riding more than 200 kilometres from Vancouver to Hope over two days (Aug. 24 and 25). That means a lot of tough training, but Radziminski says it’s not hard when he puts it in context. 

“When you're on the bike, (you think), 'Oh, my butt hurts. My leg hurts. My lungs are burning.' But I think about how lucky I am to be able to still ride my bike, and ride my bike with my friends. And that's all she wanted to do. She was a five-year-old kid and she just wanted to ride her bike.”

Radziminski says he rides to raise money to end chemo. He hopes the BC Cancer Foundation can one day find a better treatment that isn’t so harsh on patients. 

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