Spirit of Giving

That’s why I’m riding.


Dr. Crooks is a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist at the IWK Health Centre. This year he will be riding across Canada for the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride – one of the biggest and most ambitious charity cycling events on behalf of childhood cancer in the world.

There are so many reasons for challenging myself for doing this. But I think the impetus has to come from a wonderful young patient.

Dr. Bruce Crooks

Dr. Bruce Crooks

Years ago, I admitted and looked after her when she was diagnosed with, and started treatment for, Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia – the commonest childhood cancer. Even then she didn’t complain, but met the challenge head on and did what she had to do. Years later, and after a somewhat rocky road, she’s finishing her studies at university and is one of the strongest, most positive and assertive role models I’ve ever met. She took the cloud that’s leukemia, ripped it apart and kept the silver lining. That taught her so many life lessons at such an early age. Last year, she stood beside me as we welcomed the 2012 National Kids Cancer Ride to Halifax and said, “So how about doing this with me next year, Crooksy?” At that point how could I say no? And here I am.

I’m originally from the UK. When I first arrived in Canada I was immediately struck by just how BIG this country is compared with Europe. Distances are measured in hours and days, not miles or kilometres. There’s a huge amount of wilderness here – lakes and rocks and trees. Oh, and bears (one of my soft spots). So it’s hardly surprising that one of my dreams was to cross the continent – on foot!!! But here’s an opportunity to do it a different way and to do something amazing with that opportunity – something that’s very dear to my heart.

Professionally, I knew I wanted to work with kids during medical school and during my first part of postgraduate training, became fascinated with cancer and cancer therapy.   In my opinion, fun, humour and clowning around is a part of the healing process – childhood is a time of laughter, exploration and discovery. Why take away a child’s innocence and childhood just because they are dealing with some crummy disease and rotten treatments. If they love coming to see me, that makes everything so much better. And I’m not afraid to put my money where my mouth is and do something like a charity head shave, or event! Why not? It’s part of the rich tapestry of life.

Dr. Crooks will be cycling across Canada to raise money for childhood oncology programs.

Dr. Crooks will be cycling across Canada to raise money for childhood oncology programs.

I see both sides of the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation: We all participate in the fundraising, and the events and the struggle to raise the money that is so desperately needed. And as a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist, I see where that money is widely spent – to improve the quality of life and care for our kids and families, to plough into medical research to devise better treatments, but also to learn where cancers come from – after all, prevention is better than a cure.

As I said to a mother not too long ago as she had just been told her child had leukemia, “This must seem to be the worst day of your life, but I’m here to try and make it better for you.”

I wish I never have to say those words again. That’s why I’m riding.

Learn more about the Sears National Kids Cancer ride.
Support Dr. Cooks on his ride across Canada.


12 thoughts on “That’s why I’m riding.

  1. Doctor Crooks Kaylee MacIntyre from Cape Breton wishes you much luck during your long ride. You are an amazing doctor and My princess thinks the world of you. take Care Tricia MacIntyre

  2. Hi Dr. Crooks. I worked with you several years ago as a social worker at the IWK. I work for mental health now in Miramichi New Brunswick and your name comes up from time to time in the community. A fair number of families have met you during their child’s treatment at IWK. I wish you all the best on your ride! Take care, Michele Bushey

  3. Hi Dr. Crooks, I was honored to meet you at the Tour for Kids event this past weekend! As the Mom of a childhood cancer survivor…I wish you great luck on your ride :). You are amazing!

  4. Hi Dr. Crooks, Anthony and his parents wish you all the best with your ride across Canada and know that you have been most amazing and optimistic with loads of humor thrown in the mix. It is all appreciated. cheryl schnare

  5. Hey Bruce
    Not surprised to see that you are doing such a wonderful event-Thanks for putting yourself out there! You’re one of a kind!
    Ron & Annette Kehoe

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  7. Acadia and I want to wish you the best of luck on this tour. Acadia does not remember a lot of her enless visits to clinics , bloodwork, treatments, ect. However, she remembers you and how funny you are. She loved seeing you in clinic znd during hospital stays. You also were a blessing to me during hard times. You are hands down worlds best doctor! Thank you so much for what you do and for doing it well. Thank you for caring so much. Love Amanda and Acadia Arsenault

  8. So proud to say that you were one of Alexzander’s favorite doctor’s at the IWK !! Good luck and most important have fun !

    Janice Quinn
    ( Alexzander Hoare’s mother )

  9. Dr Crooks you have been a blessing to Leeland. We are so happy to have you as his oncologist you make his visits to iwk fun and know how terrible this disease is. Please have a safe journey so you can return to help our children and have fun.

  10. We love you and support you! Chelsea Allaby and family.

  11. My Little girl Alyssa Clarke, lights up when she hears your name, your one of her fav docs. We have a picture on her first birthday with you 🙂 Have a safe journey and we are proud to say you are one of Alyssa’s doctors. 🙂

  12. Dr. Crooks,
    I know you see many patients and deal with many parents, but know that your optimism, humour and good nature sticks with each and every one of us. I was one of those mothers you had to give bad news to, and you most definitely made the journey better for me and my family. Brennan was traumatized in the beginning, but is now a charismatic, energetic, social butterfly!

    Wishing you the best of luck on your ride, and thanking you for taking such big leaps to help our children.

    Laura, Jesse and Brennan Ferguson

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