October 29, 2005 – The Wedgewood Hotel and the BC Cancer Foundation hosted the exclusive appearance today of legendary cyclist Eddy Merckx and his son, Olympic cyclist Axel Merckx. The world-famous father and son are in Vancouver – Eddy from Belgium and Axel from Kelowna – to headline a fundraising banquet for cycling fans benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation, in support of cancer research in British Columbia.
Eddy Merckx is acknowledged to be the greatest cyclist of the 20th century. He is the five-time winner of the world’s top two cycling events – the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia. Merckx won over 500 races in his 13-year career, more than any other rider in cycling history, before he retired in 1978.
His son Axel Merckx won the bronze medal in cycling at the 2004 Athens Olympics and is the former Belgian national cycling champion and a current Tour de France competitor.
Eddy Merckx’ reasons for appearing at the fundraiser are personal. “Cancer has affected my son’s mother-in-law, my friends and my fellow riders in the cycling community. I am happy that my first visit to Vancouver is to support cancer research through the BC Cancer Foundation. I hope it can make a difference,” he said.
Proceeds from tonight’s Evening of Champions banquet will be donated to the BC Cancer Foundation, to support breast cancer programs at the BC Cancer Agency in Kelowna and testicular cancer research at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver.
Wedgewood Hotel general manager Philip Meyer is an avid cycling competitor, the founder and captain of the Wedgewood Cycling Team and a huge fan of Eddy and Axel Merckx. Like American cycling champion Lance Armstrong, Meyer is also a testicular cancer survivor and has designated all the funds Team Wedgewood raises from its races and special events to go to the BC Cancer Foundation.
“Eddy and Axel have been so generous in giving their time and energy to support our Evening of Champions for the BC Cancer Foundation,” he said. My own personal experience with cancer and my love of cycling made this event a natural. I’m extremely grateful to Eddy and Axel and to Axel’s mother-in-law Colleen Cross, who was the one who really got this going.”
Axel Merckx’s mother-in-law Colleen Cross is a breast cancer survivor who lives in Kelowna, B.C. “I received such wonderful care from the BC Cancer Agency. I strongly believe that working together we can make a difference, and I wanted to help other breast cancer patients in Kelowna and B.C. So I asked Axel to help out. How could he say no to his mother-in-law? He spoke to Eddy and now here we are,” she said.
The sold-out fundraiser begins with a champagne reception at the Wedgewood Hotel and continues with a four-course banquet at the Vancouver Club and a raffle and silent auction of celebrity cycling gear and memorabilia, including a team jersey signed by Lance Armstrong.
Team Wedgewood plans to hold an annual Evening of Champions for the BC Cancer Foundation. To contribute to this year’s event or for information about next year’s plans, contact the BC Cancer Foundation at: 604-707-5904.
The BC Cancer Foundation is a charitable organization that raises funds to support research and care at the BC Cancer Agency, throughout the province.