Bob Thomas, Customs Compliance Coordinator at Parker’s Financial Services Unit in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada, lost his daughter, Samantha, to Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma in 2003, just three days before her third birthday. Her short life included a nine month battle with cancer spent mainly in London, Ontario’s Victoria Hospital, and later at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital where she received a bone marrow transplant.
His family’s tragic loss became the inspiration behind an annual charity motorcycle ride which has raised $389,500 for cancer research over the last 13 years. Parker Canada FSU has supported the ride since Thomas joined the company in 2014, covering the cost of the participant shirts to help ensure that 100 percent of the funds raised are donated to Canada’s 17 Children’s Hospitals.
In partnership with the Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation, the annual event typically draws around 100 motorcycles and averages over $30,000 in pledges each year for the past decade.
Bob relocated his family from Sarnia to Niagara Falls after joining Parker, and brought the ride to his new home on July 9, 2016. An ominous forecast kept some riders away, but sunny skies prevailed for the 55 participants who raised $22,500 and toured 140 km of scenic Niagara roads including the Niagara Parkway past the falls. With year one at their new venue under his belt, Bob is setting his sights at reaching the “Half Million Raised to Date” milestone.
Helping other families who are dealing with childhood cancer is an admirable way for the Thomas family to honor the memory of their daughter. Bob’s personal request to Parker’s global team members is “to hug your children every day, for they are not as indestructible as they should be.”
To learn more or support this worthy cause, visit: www.rockride.com.