PORT HARDY—The first time Sarah Case had her head shaved in support of the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock, it was all in fun.
This time, the Port Hardy teen means business.
The annual Tour de Rock begins its end-to-end cycling ride of Vancouver Island Sunday morning with the Port Alice to Port Hardy leg. By the time the RCMP, law enforcement support and media riders reach the south end of the Island 14 days and 1,000 kilometres later, they’ll have taken part in a host of fund-raising events for pediatric cancer research and programs for children with a history of cancer.
At the front of the line is Case, who has committed her substantial mane of dark red hair to the cause with a head-shaving event at the Civic Centre Sunday. Port Hardy’s tour event will be held from 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m. and include presentations, a barbecue by donation and, of course, head shaves.
“I don’t really need my hair,” Case said with a shrug while preparing for practice with the North Island Eagles midget hockey team. “Because I can always grow more.”
She knows this from experience, having undergone a head shave years ago, as a seven-year-old elementary school student.
“But that time was different,” she said. “This time, I’m trying to help raise money.”
With the help of a Facebook page started earlier this month, Case last weekend was well on her way to her goal of $1,000 in donations before the Cops’ arrival this weekend. As of last Saturday afternoon, she had already brought in $870 toward the Tour de Rock fund that will assist childhood cancer victims with trips to Camp Goodtimes and other activities, as well as cancer research.
“I feel pretty good (about the response),” she said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
Her involvement with the Tour de Rock is personal for Case. She lost her grandfather to the disease three years ago, and also lost a great-uncle to cancer.
Case hopes her hair will be used to make a wig for a needy cancer victim. She is certainly providing plenty of material, having had her last cut for length more than two years ago. But she admits her decision to submit to the shave was made only in the past month.
“I started thinking about it in August, at the Vernon (Junior Canadian Ranger) ETS training,” she said.
The Tour de Rock’s 22 riders have been training since March for the gruelling pedal down-Island. They will arrive in Port Alice Friday and attend a welcome dinner and auction hosted by the community at the Legion Hall.
After a hearty breakfast, they will ride Sunday morning to Port Hardy, swinging by the Battle of Britain commemoration at Carrot Park on their way to the Civic Centre for introductions and head shaves.
At 1 p.m., riders leave for Port McNeill, where they will be hosted in a community block party beginning at 3:15 p.m. at the Black Bear Resort.
The event will feature meet-and-greet, a barbecue by donation and kids’ crafts and activities.
The Tour resumes Monday morning with a stop at Sunset Elementary School, which has designated the day as Bring Your Bike to School Day. After a presentation, student riders will escort the tour riders to Campbell Way as they begin their trek to Sayward and points south. A bike rodeo will follow at school.