Residents respond to Tour

Tour de Rock riders tour the North Island as part of their fundraising trip.

North Island communities got the 2012 Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock off to a rousing start last weekend, contributing more than $22,000 to research and treatment of pediatric cancer in events held in Port Alice, Port Hardy and Port McNeill.

The nearly 900-kilometre bike ride the length of Vancouver Island started Sunday morning, the day after Port Alice commenced proceedings with a seafood dinner and auction that netted more than $8,000.

The tour riders and support crew then swung through Port Hardy, where they were presented with a $9,000 cheque for proceeds raised in last month’s Tour de Rock golf tournament at Seven Hills Golf and Country Club.

After introduction of the riders, several residents sat for head shaves to raise more money and waved the riders off for the trip to Port McNeill.

Upon arrival there, the riders were hosted in a block party at Black Bear resort that featured a hot dog cookout and kids’ games, stickers and tattoos, balloons and more. The big draw was a “Tear a strip off the fuzz” fund-raiser in which members of the local detachment sat while their legs were waxed. Each donation cost members another painful strip of leg hair.

Local organizer Alyssa McAstocker was at Sunset Elementary School the next morning to present the riders with a cheque for $3,200 from the event, and the students at Sunset raised another $2,000 for the right to shave the head of Grade 7 teacher Shawn Gough. Several others submitted to head shaves at the school, including the father-son tandem of Wally and Justin Henschel.

After their introductions to the loudly cheering students, the riders saddled up and headed south on Highway 19 for Sayward Monday.