If you are out and about in Pemberton anytime between 4 p.m. on Friday, May 27 and 4 p.m. Saturday, May 28, you might catch a glimpse of Liam Fisher doing his Workout to Conquer Cancer tire-flipping challenge.
During his challenge, named Project Tired, Fisher will be attempting to flip a 300-pound tire 10 kilometres over the course of 24 hours to raise money for cancer research.
The cause hits close to home for Fisher, who has already seen multiple people in his life lose their battle with cancer, including his grandmother as well as his sister, Riva, who Fisher’s challenge is dedicated to.
“[Riva] was just an absolute shining light, one of those magnetic people that just drew everyone in,” said Fisher. “When she got hit with cancer, it was something that came totally out of left field, being a healthy, 19-year-old kid.”
But, amazingly, the cancer didn’t slow Riva down much, Fisher said.
“While she was in her chemotherapy, she went travelling around the world, and with a terminal diagnosis decided she was going to go back to school, and got a degree,” he said.
“She just kept pushing forward and got everything she could out of life. She lived more in her 25 years than a lot of people do in a whole lifetime.”
Initially, Fisher planned to do the challenge on the Seawall in Vancouver, where he now lives. But not having enough time to get the permits needed, he decided to come up to his hometown of Pemberton where he was welcomed with open arms by the community.
“The thing about being up here, my sister’s ashes are sprinkled on top of Mount Currie and in the Lillooet River, so she’s right here with me when I’ll be flipping the tire,” said Fisher. “I grew up here full time from about two years old; I’m very closely tied to the community and it’s nice to be able to give back to the hometown. I know lot of people in this valley have been touched by cancer in different ways and knew my sister. In a way it sort of worked out the way it was supposed to. To be back here it feels better or more natural to be doing it at home.”
While Fisher has been involved with Workout to Conquer Cancer before, doing 30 workouts in 30 days during Cancer Awareness Month as well as a challenge where he wore a 50-pound weight for 12 hours each day for 30 days, he said this is the biggest challenge he has attempted from a physically demanding standpoint.
To get through it, Fisher has been focusing his training on forearm work to stave off potential cramping during the challenge. He also said pacing will be a key factor as well, not only to help him get in a rhythm but to be able to continue throughout the entire 24-hour period.
But if he does hit a wall during the challenge, Fisher will be relying on the support of the community as well as his sister’s message to keep him fighting through it and pushing forward.
“People would ask [Riva] how she was feeling today and no matter what, with a big smile and laugh, she’d say it’s like reading your favourite book—if there’s a major plot twist, you don’t stop reading and put the book down, you flip the page and keep going. And that was sort of the thing, flip the page, flip the tire. Just keep going no matter what,” he said.
“Being here in the valley, I feel her in the wind … and where we’re going to be flipping will have an open view of Mount Currie, so I know she’ll be watching over. And then as I mentioned too with my granny passing, even though she’s not actually with us today, I know, in spirit, she’ll be at the finish line.”
Fisher will be doing the challenge on Oberson Road in Pemberton, and encourages anybody who wants to show support to come out, say hi, enjoy some food and refreshments donated by Pemberton Valley Supermarket and Valley Hardware and cheer him on towards his goal. His only request is that anyone who does come to show support does so on foot or by bike to keep car traffic on the road to a minimum.
With all the donations from local businesses and nearly $8,000 of his $10,000 goal already raised, Fisher is blown away by the support he has seen so far and is thankful to each and every person who will be helping him reach his goal come Saturday.
“It’s huge. It’s one thing to just say, ‘hey, we’re going to do this,’ but with this turnout, it really feels like it’s kind of turning into a bit of a community effort here,” said Fisher. “I mentioned before there’s a ton of people in this valley who’ve been affected by cancer, so at this point, I think anytime someone’s in to share some inspiration and help someone through this battle, it speaks to this community that we show up for each other and we’re all here together.”
Donations to Fisher’s cause can be made at workouttoconquercancer.ca/participant/2569009/3944, or in person during the challenge at a live donation centre that will be set up for the event.