19 law enforcement and emergency services personnel have begun the 1,200 km Tour de Rock bike ride across Vancouver Island, also known as Cops for Cancer, in support of the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS).
With cancer being the leading cause of disease-related death in children under the age of 15, the 26th Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock is once again being held to improve outcomes and change the future of childhood cancer forever.
An estimated 1,050 children (ages 0-14) in Canada were diagnosed with cancer in 2021. As the largest charitable funder of childhood cancer research in Canada, CCS has invested $16.4 million toward the cause over the last five years. This investment is contributing to improved outcomes as the five-year survival rate for childhood cancer is now 84 per cent, an increase from 71 per cent in the 1980s. However, two out of three children diagnosed with cancer suffer long-term or late side effects from their treatment.
The Tour de Rock team’s first stop was in the Village of Port Alice on Saturday night (Sept. 23), where resident Audrey Clark-Surtees proudly presented them with a little over $22,000 that she’d managed to fundraise for this year’s ride. She also had her head shaved afterwards, which was the second time she’s done it.
“I want to thank all my friends, my family, everyone who donated to me, all the businesses who donated in Port Hardy, Port McNeill, and Port Alice,” Clark-Surtees said, noting she’s never had as many hugs in her entire life as she did on Saturday night. “It was a great evening, it’s for a good cause, and I love doing it.”
In total, Port Alice raised $35,453.50 for Tour de Rock this year.
Funds raised will be going to support life-saving cancer research and national support services such as Camp Goodtimes, an essential program that gives families of children diagnosed with cancer opportunities to enjoy a summer camp experience in a stress-free and medically supervised environment.
The Tour de Rock team left Port Alice bright and early on Sunday morning, arriving in Port Hardy around 11:30 a.m., where they enjoyed a barbecue lunch courtesy of presenting sponsor Applewood Auto Group.
“It’s so impressive to have the Tour de Rock come to Port Hardy,” said Mayor Pat Corbett-Labatt. “We wish them well on their ride, we know there’s going to be challenging days for them, they’re going to be facing some very unreasonable weather, and we hope they stay safe.”
Pediatric cancer survivor Weston Ireton was the junior rider again this year, and he handed over another baggie full of money, a little over $1,000, that he and his older brother Beckett raised for this year’s Tour de Rock ride.
During the lunch break in Port Hardy, three people ended up getting their heads shaved, including Applewood Ford’s General Manager Kevin Macaw.
After finishing their lunch, the riders continued on to Port McNeill where they stopped for dinner at the legion.
The Tour de Rock ride will continue down island while engaging with tour stops at schools, local businesses, and community events as they continue on their journey to raise funds for life-saving childhood cancer research and a national support system for children affected by cancer and their families.
To learn more about Tour de Rock, find an event in your community, or make a donation, please visit www.tourderock.ca.
- with file from Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock