The Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock riders arrived in Port Alberni on Friday, Sept. 27 under sunny skies, with sirens blaring and riders smiling.
They were piped in and out of the Co-op on Johnston Road by Piper Kelly McFarlane. Riders took a few minutes to clean car windows and received a donation of $1,000.
They then went on their way to John Howitt Elementary School where they were greeted by excited students who had been busy fundraising for this event. Students raised $487.45 for the Tour de Rock.
Over the past 22 years of Tour de Rock, almost 25 million dollars has been raised, which translates to 60,400 families to Camp Good Times.
Port Alberni’s junior riders this year were Brett Wasylyniuk (age 12) and Ryder Werner (age 9 ½). They were joined by Cst. Cydney MacNeill of Nanaimo RCMP and Alex Marshall of CFB Esquimalt Fire.
It was then on to the local RCMP office, where riders were greeted by the West Coast Highlanders pipes and drums and students from John Paul II Catholic School, as well as local detachment members. The RCMP donated approximately $2,000.
Riders were then treated to a buffet lunch at Boston Pizza. Kayley Pitts, manager of Boston Pizza, held a beer and burger night on Monday that raised $858 for the Tour de Rock. Through a raffle, they also raised $2,150 for the Dodding family.
Natalia Dodding, only 10 months old, was flown from West Coast General Hospital on April 4 to the children’s hospital in Vancouver, where it was confirmed that she has a very rare form of Leukemia. Her parents, Lance and Matraca, have only been back to Port Alberni once since then. Although a bone marrow transplant will be happening “very soon,” there will be many long months ahead for the Dodding family spent away from their Port Alberni home.
Natalia’s big brother, Ryker (age 4), was on hand at Boston Pizza on Friday to pull the lucky winner’s name for the raffle. Wendy Voysey won a tool chest.
Former junior rider Kayla Aolick gave everyone from the ride a hand made bracelet for them to wear on ride—a tradition that she has followed every year since she was a junior rider.
After afternoon stops at EJ Dunn Elementary School and the Best Western Plus Barclay Hotel, the riders were treated to a West Coast meal at the Alberni Athletic Hall. Numerous prizes were offered for a silent auction, all in the name of fundraising for Tour de Rock.
The riders will tackle Hydro Hill on Saturday on their way to Ucluelet and Tofino.