The 2023 edition of Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock has seen some of the stormiest conditions in the tour’s history.
Nineteen riders made up of law enforcement, first responders and media are three days into a 14-day, 1,200 km route from Port Alice to Victoria.
It’s been rainy and windy, but no one is complaining.
“The kids, they can’t give up, so we don’t give up. It’s a fantastic day to raise money for kids, so get out there and donate,” said Ajinkya Chodankar, a Courtenay firefighter.
Since 1997, the five different Cops for Cancer tours on the Island and the mainland have raised a combined $52 million for childhood cancer research and support.
The tour’s goal this year is $1 million, and on Tuesday, it passed the $500,000 mark.
Cancer hits home to so many, and on a stretch of Highway 19 north of Campbell River, a driver heading north stops on the road to give a police officer on one of the escort motorcycles $50 for the cause.
“We visited Camp Goodtimes earlier this summer and got to see first-hand all of the benefits of the fundraising that goes into Camp Goodtimes,” said Parksville firefighter Kirk Wolstenholme.
“It was very motivational and inspirational for days like this.”
“Camp Goodtimes offers an extraordinary camp experience in a medically supervised, safety-focused and supportive environment. We’ve been friendship-building and memory-making in British Columbia since 1985,” states the Canadian Cancer Society website.
“Our summer and year-round programs are designed to foster independence, increase confidence and create an environment of understanding and support.”
Many of the riders have been touched by cancer, which also motivates them to keep going.
“Many family members. My mom had a diagnosis before Tour. My wife’s been going through some skin cancer issues, so it affects everybody,” said Nanaimo RCMP Cpl. Mike Ramsey.
When the team arrived in Campbell River Tuesday afternoon to visit several schools, they received a rock star welcome from students.
After months of preparation and fundraising, CHEK’s own Hannah Lepine is also on the team and received a boost from the warm welcome.
“You know, when we get to a stop and see all these screaming kids and they’re so excited to see you, there’s nothing better and it makes you want to get back on that bike and keep going,” Lepine said.
The team leaves Campbell River Wednesday morning and heads to the Comox Valley for day four.
To see who all the riders are and to donate, visit tourderock.ca.