Daniel O’Neill can’t forget what it was like to watch his 17-year-old niece battle for her life.
 
Memories of the girl’s cancer diagnosis and how it affected his brother and sister-in-law stayed with him through the years, enough to prompt him to do something to help families going through similar struggles.
 
Strathcona County recently recognized O’Neill for the steps he’s taken to make a difference in the lives of children with cancer, honouring him with the Mayor’s Award at the recent 2018 Pride of Strathcona Awards.
 
In 2015, O’Neill organized his first fundraiser for the Kids with Cancer Society, putting his feet to the pedals for a day straight on a stationary bicycle at Exist Fitness in Sherwood Park. The 24-hour indoor cycling fundraiser, now an annual event, has raised close to $40,000 in four years to support children and families dealing with cancer. The Kids with Cancer Society provides a large range of services to children and their families from diagnosis onward.
 
“I'm going to do something with the talents I've got. I can ride a bike. And if it makes some money and it makes a difference in a family's life, then that's pretty worthwhile to me,” O’Neill said, adding that the event has grown so much he has had to enlist the help of an organizing committee.
 
O’Neill keeps a full schedule, working full-time for Strathcona County, raising his children, training in endurance sports and coaching other athletes. He is currently spending about two hours a day preparing for an upcoming duathlon and 50 km trail run. He is also an author, with his second book release expected by the end of July.
 
“Everything keeps me busy but you prioritize and you organize your time. And again, I've just been blessed in life with the opportunity to do all this stuff. So it's pretty nice to be able to do it," he said.
 
Pride of Strathcona is an annual awards ceremony that recognizes outstanding residents of Strathcona County. The Mayor’s Award, the highest honour handed out, goes to a person or group achieving a level of excellence that is recognized beyond the county’s borders.
 
O’Neill, whose niece is now a thriving adult, was surprised to find out he had been chosen as this year’s Mayor’s Award recipient. He said the award ceremony was phenomenal.
 
“It's so well done. It's kind of like being a star for a night. It was fantastic," he said, pointing out that the honour wasn’t his alone. “It's a huge community of people that have made the ride what it is. So we were able to celebrate as group, which was very nice."
 

More Local News

Poor visibility in the heartland

Use extra caution on your drive to work.

École Campbelltown celebrate French heritage

As part of their month-long celebration “Mois de la francophonie albertaine” the students and staff of École Campbelltown held a special flag-raising ceremony for International Francophonie Day.

Update: region experiencing elevated pollution levels

Higher pollution levels are affecting the air quality.

Freedom Conservatives choose Malcolm Stinson for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville

Malcolm Stinson was recently selected as the Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta candidate in Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville.

Two pedestrians hit in crosswalks

Keep an eye out for pedestrians.

Chamber hosting All Candidate Forum for provincial election

Residents will soon have the chance to hear from their candidates.

Operation Red Nose provides $5,600 in community grants

Several youth-based community groups recently received some funding.

Fort Sask Wellness Hub for Youth gaining support from local partners

A new project in the Fort is getting support from many different realms.

Public pool usage down in Redwater

Last summer wasn't the strongest for the Redwater Pool.

Warm weather increasing danger of thin ice

With spring on the way, ice safety is becoming more important.

DiscoverWestman.com is Westman's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Login