Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock rider Amanda McRae smiles wide alongside Ucluelet constables Mike Moore, left, and Matt Crist at the Ukee Days fairgrounds last month. The Tofino paramedic and volunteer firefighter pedalled up a storm on a stationary bike to raise awareness for her upcoming Cops for Cancer ride. She is hosting a hoedown in Tofino Friday night to keep the fundraising momentum rolling. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Hoedown to slow down cancer in Tofino tonight

Fundraiser hosted by West Coast’s Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock rider.

Shine up your dancing boots, West Coast. It’s time for a hoedown.

Tofino paramedic and volunteer firefighter Amanda McRae is hosting a Hoedown to Slow Down Cancer event at the Tofino Legion on Aug. 10 to raise funds for her upcoming Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock Ride.

The party will run from 5 p.m to midnight. Little Ronnie’s BBQ has signed on to serve up dinner at the all-ages event, which will include games, a silent auction and door prizes amongst country music and hay bales.

“It’s going to be a good time,” McCrae said. “People around town are excited…Who doesn’t like a hoedown? Everyone wants an excuse to get out the cowboy boots.”

She added a mystery member of the West Coast’s B.C. Ambulance team has agreed to have their head shaved for the cause during the event.

Tickets to the hoedown cost $50 and proceeds will go towards McRae’s Tour de Rock fundraising total. She said the West Coast has helped her raise over $3,000 so far and she’s confident her communities’ support will push her past the $10,000 mark.

McRae was thrilled with the kudos and encouragement she received during Ucluelet’s recent Ukee Days festivities and said her fellow volunteer firefighters and B.C. Ambulance teammates have consistently buoyed her Tour de Rock efforts.

She said the West Coast has a knack for stepping up when support is needed.

“We’ve been through everything,” she said. “We’re a family…Everyone is so supportive, through good stuff and bad stuff.”

The Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team pedals more than 1,000 kilometres across Vancouver Island over a two-week span each fall. The riders visit roughly 30 communities during their ride to raise awareness and funds for paediatric cancer research as well as Camp Goodtimes, a camp that offers support and experiences to families affected by cancer.

This year’s ride will take place from Sept. 22-Oct. 5. The team will pedal into Ucluelet on Sept. 29 and Tofino on Sept. 30.

McRae, who lost her father to cancer in 2017, noted that many West Coasters are, unfortunately, connected to the cause through personal experiences.

“Everybody has a connection, whether it’s their family or friend’s family,” she said.

“No kid should be going through this…It’s unbearable. So here we go riding across the Island to try to fix this; to raise awareness, to find gentler treatments for children [and] to find a cure.”

McCrae is no stranger to cycling as she became a competitive cyclist roughly four years ago and trains year-round but, she said, the 22-member Tour de Rock team’s upcoming daily slogs through all types of weather and terrain will be a tough grind.

The team has increased its training regime in recent weeks and will soon put in a dress-rehearsal ride, cycling roughly three hours a day over five consecutive days.

“That’s going to prepare us for being on the bike day after day after day,” she said.

“The five consecutive ride days are going to be a challenge for some. I don’t think I’ve done five consecutive days, doing three hours before. That’s new for me. Butts are gonna be sore.”

She added that no matter how sore or tired she gets during the Island-wide ride, she’ll never be short of motivation.

“I’m going to think about the kids that I’ve met through this process,” she said. “I’m going to think about all their treatments and needles and chemo and radiation and that will get me through anything.”

READ MORE: Tofino local named to Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team

READ MORE: Tour de Rock riders honour Ucluelet with Community Champion award

READ MORE: Ucluelet celebrates Cops for Cancer Spin-A-Thon event

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