A bit of Sunday rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of thousands of walkers and bikers who turned out for the CN Cycle for CHEO, raising a record-breaking $2.175 million for childhood cancer research and care.

“We didn’t just break the record, we smashed it,” Steven Read, president and CEO of the CHEO Foundation, said in an interview.

Now in its 17th year, the CN Cycle for CHEO features 15 km, 35 km or 70 km cycling routes, along with two km and five km walking routes for people of all ages.

Tamy Bell was the top individual fundraiser, raising more than $61,000. She’s the mother of Griffin Bell, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2018 at just 16 months old. He died in March, at the age of six, after a lengthy battle with the aggressive childhood cancer.

Bell was also part of Griff’s Gang, a 613-person team that raised a record-smashing $323,469.

“Last year, he was with us,” Bell said, her voice cracking with emotion as she addressed the large crowd, who stuck around for the speeches despite the rain that returned after a short pause during the event.

“He ran the whole five K.”