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The Rael's Ride committee posing with the sunnybrook foundation and the donation check.

michelle gorkunberg/The Globe and Mail

The donors: Andrea Shugar, Gabi Herman, Ben Herman, Lauragaye Jackson

The gift: Raising $78,000

The cause: Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

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The reason: To fund brain-cancer research and treatments

Rael Herman was 35 years old when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. After a year of treatment, which included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, it looked like he’d beaten the odds and the cancer went into remission.

Mr. Herman took up cycling and helped raise more than $10,000 for cancer research. He also resumed work at a family business he co-owned in Toronto called Firwin Corporation, which specializes in insulation products. Sadly, the cancer returned in a more aggressive form in 2017 and he died on March 9, 2019. Before he passed away, his family and a group of friends organized a cycling event in his honour to raise money for brain-cancer research and radiation programs at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where Mr. Herman received treatment. “We wanted to do something to affect change at a larger scale,” said Gabi Herman, Mr. Herman’s daughter, from her home in Toronto. “The idea of having a ride named after him to raise money and help people was really exciting to him.” She organized the event along with Mr. Herman’s wife, Andrea Shugar; his son, Ben Herman; and a family friend, Lauragaye Jackson.

Mr. Herman participated in the first ride last year, which raised $40,000 and involved 250 participants. This year’s ride was on June 23, nearly four months after Mr. Herman died. More than 200 friends and family members joined in and Mr. Herman was there in spirit, too. “He requested that my mom take the components of his bike and put them on hers so that she could ride with him,” recalled Ms. Herman, 22, who is studying medicine. “He was riding with us.“

Editor’s note: The spelling of Rael Herman’s name has been corrected in the online version of this story.
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