Vancouver Island’s 2019 Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team made haste over Sutton Pass and around Kennedy Lake on Saturday, arriving in Ucluelet at around 2:30 p.m., about 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
The team of 24 RCMP officers and paramedics started their 1,100-kilometre bike ride in Port Alice on Sept. 21 and had covered roughly 605 kilometres and visited about 12 communities before rolling into the Ucluelet Co-op parking on Sept. 28 for a community head-shaving event.
Team member Dayne Lyons of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP said the amazing weather made for easy riding.
“It was sunny all the way through. It hasn’t always been that way in the past. We were very fortunate to have an amazing sunny day to really keep us going,” said Lyons.
Cydney MacNeill, representing the Nanaimo RCMP Detachment, said they are a really fast team.
“We just push really hard. Whenever we show up somewhere we’re getting told, ‘You’re 10-minutes early, you’re 18-minutes early’,” said MacNeill, adding that she tells everyone to slow down.
“It’s quite emotional when you’re pushing yourself so hard physically. It’s always such an emotional journey that the tears just hit us. Sometimes, we don’t expect it and you find ourselves balling or crying,” MacNeill told the Westerly News during Saturday’s fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society.
“I call the kids little warriors because they are brave and they are battling. For us it’s just a bike ride, it’s nothing compared to what they have to go through. On all of our T-shirts it says ‘For the Kids’ and we just remember, it’s for the kids, it’s for the kids, it’s for the kids,” she said.
MacNeill’s father, a former RCMP is a cancer survivor. Her older brother is currently fighting brain cancer.
“These little ones… It’s a disease that doesn’t discriminate. Until we find a cure, children and adults a like are fighting,” said MacNeill.
About a dozen local kids and adults shaved their heads in the Ucluelet Co-op parking lot on Saturday to raise money for Camp Good Times and to raise awareness for pediatric cancer research. Cindy Kunz, owner of Cindy Bear’s Daycare, donated her long locks to help make a wig for cancer patients and Co-op Gas Bar manager Mike Martin buzzed off a full mane for his mom.
“It feels refreshing. I’ll save a lot of shampoo now,” said Martin.
Gaylene Thorogood, a 2016 Tour de Rock rider, is organizing a West Coast Regimental Ball on Oct. 5 at the Best Western Tin Wis. All the proceeds raised from this special night will help fund research to eradicate childhood cancer and improve the lives of children and their families through Cops for Cancer supported programs, like Camp Good Times.
“On the West Coast alone, the Cops for Cancer bike ride has raised well over $30,000 every year to allow children suffering from Cancer to participate in a great camping experience surrounded by caring and loving people,” said Thorogood, the Chair of the West Coast Regimental Ball Committee.
“We believe that hosting a formal evening with all of the ceremony of our historic Mounted Police will create unforgettable memories. Time honoured traditions such as piping in the head table, toasts to historical patrons, the Grand March preceding the first dance and the glorious visual of scarlet and gold will give one the sense of true Canadian history. Again, all proceeds will be going to the Canadian Cancer Foundation,” she said.
The Westerly News and Black Press are proud sponsors of the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock ride.