The annual Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock ride to raise money for kids with cancer rolled through the area over the Sept. 12 weekend.
The two-week, 1,000 kilometre Tour de Rock took riders from their starting point in Port Alice clear to Victoria, with stops in Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Woss and Sayward.
The group, decked out in matching rainbow cycling gear, has trained since the beginning of March for the trip, said Steve Smith, an officer in the Saanich Police Department.
“It’s about a greater cause,” Smith said, explaining what made him sign up for the epic ride. “Anytime it’s kids, it tugs at your heart.”
The Port Hardy stop was dedicated to 14-year-old Myles Janse, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. Myles and his family were present at the event. The Kwakiutl First Nation gave the family a healing dance and Myles was named junior rider and presented with a hat and t-shirt as well as a jacket signed by the team members from a previous ride that had been purchased at a fund-raising auction.
“When the riders come here and they meet a child like Myles, they really understand why they’re riding. It’s an amazing fund-raiser,” said organizer Lisa Harrison.
At the event in Port Hardy, Harrison said, $1,300 was raised through head shaves and cookies sales.
“We’re giving that to Myles for travel expenses,” Harrison said. Myles, along with either his mom Vicki or dad Hans, has been in Vancouver receiving both radiation and chemotherapy since the beginning of August.
The cookies were baked and donated by Miranda Berry, who also shaved her head. Berry fund-raised all summer at CIBC for the Tour de Rock, said Harrison.
Royal LePage realtor Sandra Masales also presented a cheque for $1,500 to Tour de Rock, a portion of proceeds from the sale of properties from May until September. That money is enough to send one family to Camp Goodtimes, Harrison said.
Harrison had the opportunity to visit Camp Goodtimes this summer with Tour de Rock riders and the experience made a lasting impression.
“It’s a place where kids go and they forget about what they are going through,” she said.
“That’s what I like about Tour de Rock – you see where the money goes. That’s why people do so much for Tour.”
In addition to the money raised during the hour and a half riders spent outside the Port Hardy Chamber of Commerce building, a cheque was also presented for $14,170.76. This money was raised at the Tour de Rock Golf Tournament and Gala. “It was awesome. The golf tournament was a huge success. It was sold out and the Gala was a very huge success with great food and lots of people,” said Harrison.
Harrison is appreciative of all the efforts and support that went into the events.
“Thanks to the Tour de Rock committee for dedicating all these months to helping out with these events and thanks to the community for their donations and their attendance at these events,” she said.
Harrison’s passion for both the Tour de Rock and the Relay for Life comes from being touched by the disease through both her mother-in-law and father-in-law. “That’s why I was driven to work for and support the cause, because of my family history with the disease.”
The kick-off in Port Alice included an incredible seafood dinner, auction at the Royal Canadian Legion, and a pancake breakfast complete with rider send-off.
A cheque for $9,547 was presented.
From Port Hardy, the Tour de Rock riders made their way to Port McNeill where they had dinner at the Black Bear Resort, breakfast at the Port McNeill Royal Canadian Legion followed by a visit to Sunset Elementary School.
Then it was on to Woss Lake Elementary School where principal Jill Cook and students – all seven of them, were waiting. The riders had lunch at the school and were presented with a cheque. The students held a duck race event and raised $750 in memory of Sgt. Mike Lawless (a longtime Tour de Rock support crew member who lost his own battle with cancer earlier this year).
In Sayward, a cheque for $10,500 was presented and the riders enjoyed a potluck supper with the community. The evening ended with John Pringle, who had been growing his hair for two years, shaving his head