Regina Turner2

Regina Turner (Courtesy Photo)

The second annual D.C. “Ride to Conquer Cancer,” a two-day bicycle ride benefitting cancer research, carries a special meaning to one rider. Wendell Smith, 64, of Gwynn Oak, Maryland, lost the love of his life, Regina Turner, to pancreatic cancer on March 12, 2014. She would have turned 62 on March 29, 2014. “God was preparing me for that day,” he said. “I was fortunate even to be there with her. I held her in my arms.”

One in four deaths in the United States will be caused by cancer, according to The Ride to Conquer Cancer website dc15.ridetovictory.org. Last year, 1,000 riders participated, raising $2.6 million for cancer research across the region.

Smith, who met Turner more than 10 years ago, said they used to run the streets together. Then they each found God on their own and reunited in the church. “My fondest memories are her wit and her kind heart,” he said. “She was a kind, caring and good woman. Even in her death, she donated her body to science to help someone else.”

Smith, who trained on a course close to the retirement home in which he lives, rode 150 miles in the event last year. One Sept. 19, he is participating for the second time. He said he plans to again ride 150 miles for the cause.

“I just got to pray and with the help of the Lord, I will get through this,” he said.

Elmer Shepardson, Smith’s best friend of more than 40 years, is proud to support his friend. “It shows his integrity,” said Shepardson, whose wife was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. “He’s the type of person that if he is for you, he is 100 percent for you. This shows that.”

Smith’s goal, according to his personal donation page, was to raise at least $2,500. He passed his goal raising more than $3,000. “People realize the importance of it and know it’s for a worthy cause,” said Smith. “I lost my queen but maybe I could help someone else in her honor.”

For more information visit dc15.ridetovictory.org.