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Pair of Port Alberni RCMP riders named to Tour de Rock

20th anniversary Cops for Cancer team unveiled
Members of the 2016 Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock ride arrive in Port Alberni. This year, two RCMP officers from Port Alberni will be part of the ride. NEWS FILE PHOTO

Two Port Alberni RCMP officers have been named to the 20th anniversary Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock ride for 2017.

On Friday, May 5 in front of a cheering, jam-packed crowd at Edward Milne Community School in Sooke, the 20th team of the Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock Team will be formally announced. “Communities and schools are the backbone of the Tour de Rock. It’s about kids helping kids. In fact, Vancouver Island IS the Tour de Rock.” says Jan Buehler, manager of annual giving for the Vancouver Island Canadian Cancer Society.

Since its inception in 1998, The Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock has become Vancouver Island’s number one fundraiser and has raised over $22 million to help kids with cancer. This team of police officers and special guest riders cycle from one end of Vancouver Island starting in Port Alice to Victoria; more than 1,100 km every year. The 20th year will mean that collectively they have travelled over half way around the world to help children in their battle against cancer. The funds raised send children facing cancer and their families to our acclaimed Camp Goodtimes. One $1,500 donation is enough to send a child to camp. Last year, Camp Goodtimes welcomed 384 campers from across our province.

“Over the past 20 years we have sent over 8,450 kids to camp,” Buehler said.

This year’s team includes riders from almost every part of the island, including Beth O’Connor and Dave Boyce from Port Alberni, and Marcel Midlane from Ucluelet. The team members will all receive their Coast Capital Savings training jerseys and their Trek bikes during the announcement on Friday.

In honour of this special occasion, and to recognize their contribution over the years, the Tour de Rock has invited some special guest riders from the community and corporate world as well as paramedics and firefighters. This 24-member team will cycle the length of Vancouver Island in September and October, raising money for pediatric cancer research and support programs.

On the team are brothers Mark and Ryan Hendren. Mark is an officer with the Saanich Police Department and his brother Ryan is a paramedic with BC Ambulance Services. Ryan volunteered last year for the Tour as our paramedic, and he himself has battled childhood leukemia. Ryan says “I am honoured to ride. Cancer treatment itself is brutal enough; all of the psychological and social impacts that go with it are something that aren’t as well handled as the “medicine” part of the disease so Camp Goodtimes is incredibly valuable. Anything I can do to help so that others don’t have to suffer alone the same way I did is the least I can do.”

The Tour de Rock is an inspirational example of our communities and our police forces coming together to make a significant and direct difference in the lives of Vancouver Island kids. Since 1998 the Tour de Rock has been creating community solidarity with children who have cancer. The collective hard work of all Vancouver Island communities and schools in their unwavering support for Tour de Rock allows children on Vancouver Island to attend Camp Goodtimes – a special summer camp for kids with a history of cancer – and also funds pediatric cancer research that changes their lives.

Since the beginning in 1998, Vancouver Island has raised over $22 million dollars. “These donor dollars have made a big difference in the lives of children living with cancer,” says Buehler. Because of this significant contribution, the Canadian Cancer Society is please to announce some exciting news, “We are truly grateful for the Cops for Cancer’s ongoing commitment as fundraising champions for CCS funded pediatric cancer research and support program, the Canadian Cancer Society is proud to announce the naming of a special “Cops For Cancer BC Fund” that will collect and disburse the dollars raised for the benefit of Camp Goodtimes and pediatric cancer research on an annual basis.”

This year in Canada close to 920 children under the age of 14 will be diagnosed with cancer; 117 of those precious children will lose their battle. For the children who beat cancer, many will suffer with long-term and life-threatening effects from their treatment. Cops for Cancer helps to fund research that will find safer, gentler treatments for childhood cancer and allow kids to live better, fuller lives after cancer.

The Tour de Rock team will spend the next five months training on the bike and fundraising, before setting out on Sept. 23 for the 1,100-km tour of our rock (Vancouver Island) beginning in Port Alice and ending in Victoria on Oct. 6.

The 2017 Tour de Rock team is:

1. Sandra Boyd —Vista Radio’s 1240 Coast AM in Port Hardy

2. Virginia Bessette —Campbell River RCMP

3. Dirk Finkensiep —Comox Valley RCMP

4. Marc Yeon —Military Police Unit Comox

5. Marcel Midlane —Ucluelet RCMP

6. Beth O’Connor —Port Alberni RCMP

7. Dave Boyce —Port Alberni RCMP

8. Samantha Caram —Nanaimo RCMP

9. Kevin Flood —Nanaimo RCMP

10. Lindy Skutnik —Community of Ladysmith

11. Kris Wood —North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP

12. Cole Brewer —West Shore RCMP

13. Ashley Cockle —Victoria Police Department

14. Jill Bonnet —RCMP Island District Headquarters

15. Jonathon deBoer —Saanich Police Department

16. Chelsea Cofield —Saanich Police Department

17. Mark Hendren —Saanich Police Department

18. Ryan Hendren —BC Ambulance Service

19. Glen Polson —BC Ambulance Service

20. David Brown —View Royal Fire Rescue

21. Chris Day —CFB Esquimalt Fire Department

22. Matthew Best —Military Police Unit Esquimalt

23. Arnold Lim —Black Press & 2013 Alumni Rider

24. Mike Gonzalez —Old Spaghetti Factory