Ucluelet’s Const. Marcel Midlane stood in front of hundreds of students at Sooke’s Edward Milne Community School on Friday and basked in their cheers as he was announced as a member of the 2017 Tour de Rock Cops for Cancer team.
“That was special,” Midlane told the Westerly News. “It was a big honour to stand up there in front of everybody and be named to the team. It was a humbling and exciting experience all at the same time.”
The enormously popular fundraising ride turns 20 years old this year—it’s raised about $22 million since its inception in 1998—and Midlane is part of the 24-member team that will cycle over 1,000 kilometres across Vancouver Island raising money and awareness for paediatric cancer research.
The funds raised also go towards Camp Goodtime, a weeklong experience for children living with Cancer.
Midlane said he was thrilled to hear he’d been accepted as part of the team last month and plans to soak up every moment of the rare experience.
“You only get to do this once. It’s a once-in-a-career opportunity,” he said. “This will be my one shot at it and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to ride and to help represent the Canadian Cancer Society and their efforts to help these children and make them feel special.”
Starting in Port Alice and finishing in Victoria, the team will stop in dozens of communities between Sept. 23 and Oct. 6.
Midlane is excited about attending the community events raising support for Camp Goodtime.
“I’m stoked about it. It’s really humbling to actually be able to be a part of it,” he said.
“There’s no feeling greater than everybody cheering you on and pushing you that extra mile. You think about that when you’re riding down the road and you might be getting tired, or starting to fatigue, or your muscles are sore, but you push it because you know the next community you go to has done such hard work and gotten into the fundraising spirit.”
He added the team will visit a lot of schools on their way where they will be inspired by thousands of cheering students, teachers and community members.
“It’s pretty special that everyone gets involved in such a big way and it’s pretty phenomenal that everybody rallies together,” he said. “Whether you’re able to make donations financially, or just show up to support the cause, everybody’s contributing in one way or another.”
Midlane has been training since March to prepare for pedalling across the Island and was delighted to pull on his new Tour de Rock jersey and ride with the full team for the first time on Saturday.
“That was pretty cool. It was nice to see everybody all dressed as a team,” he said. “I think that really inspires everybody to push a little further and push a little harder and feel united.”
Trek Bikes sponsors the team each year and provides each member with a new road bike. Midlane received his on Friday and rode it for the first time on a sunny Sunday in Ucluelet.
“It’s the nicest bike I’ve ever ridden for sure,” he said.
He said the hard work he’s put into preparing is paying dividends and he hopes the community is ready to rally their support behind him as he and his fundraising team fill the West Coast with events leading up to the team’s arrival in Ucluelet on Sept. 30 and Tofino on Oct. 1.
“I’m feeling great. I’m feeling better and younger than I’ve actually felt in a long time,” he said. “Hopefully I get lots of community support backing me.”
The next opportunity for locals to show their support is a ‘Cops Fore Cancer’ golf tournament on May 27. Anyone interested in participating can sign up by calling Long Beach Golf Course at 250-725-3332.
“It’s going to be a really fun time,” Midlane said adding the event will include prizes, a silent auction and dinner. “I’d love to see as many people out as possible supporting it.”