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Port Moody man pays loving tribute to his dad by cycling for a cancer cure

Derek Wong is participating in the Tour de Cure to raise money for cancer research.
Derek Wong will be riding 100km through the Fraser Valley in the Aug. 27 Tour de Cure.

The Tour de Cure presented by Wheaton Precious Metals is B.C.’s biggest cycling fundraiser and continues to raise thousands of dollars for cancer research.

This year, the Tri-City News is focusing on Derek Wong, a Port Moody television producer and director who is riding on Aug. 27 in memory of his dad, Sam Wong, to raise funds for the BC Cancer Foundation.

In an interview this week, Wong said he will be missing his dad, a professional accountant, who died last year and who always cheered him on at Tour de Cure events.

"The morning drive in was our time together," said Wong, who said his father was a 'social' guy who enjoyed hanging out at the tour and supporting his son's team of riders.

This year Wong's team, the Flying Tigers, named after his dad's CB call sign, will field 11 cyclists for a 100km ride through the Fraser Valley.

Click here to donate to the Flying Tigers Tour de Cure Team.

Wong calls himself a fair-weather rider who has been participating in the Tour de Cure for 10 years, first in memory of a cousin who died of cancer at an early age and now for his father.

"The cause is something that of course, more people are affected by, and taking part in this event is important to me and for all those who supported me, it's pretty overwhelming," said Wong, whose team has raised more than $38,000 for cancer research.

Grieving in a healthy way

Losing a parent is never easy, but Wong said the ride helps him grieve in a healthy way and connect with positive memories of his dad who was born in China, but who immigrated to Canada with his family when he was just two.

Prior to the Wong family's arrival, male members of the family on both his mother and father's side came to Canada to make a living.

But in those days the The Chinese head tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act prevented them from bringing their families.

When it was removed in 1947, his grandpa who was a business man and his great grandpa who worked as a cook at logging camps were allowed to bring their families.

That's when the Wongs became Canadians, something son Derek said made his dad very proud.

Father a proud Canadian

"He grew up Canadian and was a proud Canadian and it was something that stuck with him."

Sam Wong, who worked for the Canadian government in several capacities, also worked for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

He enjoyed socializing and his prized CB Radio always went with the family on long road trips, allowing the elder Wong to communicate with other drivers using the CB call sign the "Flying Tiger."

Today, his son will take his father's spirit with him as he rides the beautiful back roads around Chilliwack . 

"Cancer, unfortunately, has been part of my family's life and we’ve had a few taken too early....Dad was in his 70s. We had a lot more years we were hoping to have together."