The West Coast could, once again, be cheering in a local rider when the Canadian Cancer Society’s Tour de Rock Cops for Cancer team pedals into Tofino and Ucluelet this September.
Const. Marcel Midlane, who’s been a key part of the Coast’s impressive Cops for Cancer fundraising efforts over the five years he’s been posted in Ucluelet, is trying out for a spot on the cycling team this year.
Roughly 15 RCMP members are selected for the ride each year and cycle roughly 1,000 kilometres across Vancouver Island raising money and awareness for paediatric cancer research as well as Camp Goodtimes, a week-long experience for children and families living with cancer.
The annual event is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year and Midlane is hoping to be part of the ride.
He began training in March, riding at least once a week, and plans to increase his cycling regiment to at least three times a week this month to get himself into gear.
Those rides can be anywhere from 40-140 kilometres as he prepares himself for journey.
The Tour de Rock team will start pedalling in Port Alice on Sept. 23, rocking fundraising events in roughly 30 communities before reaching their finish line in Victoria on Oct. 6. They will arrive at Ucluelet’s Co-op on Sept. 30 for the community’s annual head-shaving event and will spend the night before heading to the Tofino Legion’s annual Cops for Cancer Pancake Breakfast on Oct. 1.
Midlane said the fight against cancer is a unifying pursuit because of how many lives and families it affects and spoke highly of Camp Goodtimes efforts to bring happiness to kids battling through it.
“It’s a part of everybody’s life one way or another. It’s such an awful disease and something that you would never want to have happen, but it does and it’s the least we can do to help those kids out,” he said. “It’s a small way to contribute and put a smile on the faces of these children.”
He said he’s excited to experience the sensation of riding into cheering communities, particularly his own.
“All the communities on Vancouver Island have been so amazing with their generosity and their giving and everything they’ve done over the years has just been phenomenal,” he said.
“Ucluelet’s been fantastic at supporting the riders in the past and I’m sure this year will again be another huge success…I want to thank everybody ahead of time for they’re continued support and I look forward to seeing everybody at the end of September when we roll into town.”
He added he’s felt “a little bit jealous” watching several West Coast RCMP members ride in with the team over the past five years, including Cpl. Andrew Waddell, Const. Chris Squire and RCMP staffer Gaylene Thorogood and he’s excited to finally be giving it his own shot this year.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Midlane told the Westerly. “The big thing here is the sense of community and bringing the community together for such a great cause, to help raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.”
He added Thorogood, a member of the 2016 team, has been a source of both inspiration and guidance.
“Gaylene smashed it last year. She did awesome,” he said. “We’re going to be on the bike out there together doing some training and she is part of the fundraising committee this year and has lots of good ideas and tips. She definitely has a lot of good information and a good handle on what worked and what didn’t.”
Thorogood raised over $40,000 through her West Coast fundraising efforts last year and Midlane is gunning for similar success.
“I have the full support of my family, which is great,” he said. “My wife Carrie is the fundraising coordinator which is fantastic. She’s amazing.”
He said Carrie and other local volunteers are putting a solid schedule of fundraising efforts together including a golf tournament in the summer and a dance in September.
“I would love it if the community got involved as much as possible,” he said. “Whether it’s through support or donations or even a honk on the highway saying hey good job. The ongoing continued support of this community is always fantastic.”
The first major fundraiser of the year is scheduled for this Saturday, April 8, at Ucluelet’s UAC Hall, which will feature a garage sale, bottle drive and barbecue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Anybody with donations to either the bottle drive or garage sale is encouraged to drop them off at the Ucluelet RCMP detachment by April 7.
Anyone looking for more information about the ride, or to donate, is encouraged to visit www.tourderock.ca.