They arrived a little cold, wet and sore but those were small challenges to overcome for Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock riders as they arrived in Port Alberni.
Led by a police escort with flashing lights the 22-rider peloton arrived in Port Alberni from Parksville just after noon on Friday.
At Wal-Mart where the riders arrived, Port Alberni tour rider RCMP Const. Tom Gill dismounted and was met by his junior rider Brett Wasylyniuk.
The four-year-old hooded Wasylyniuk and Gill embraced for a long moment before the youngster, who just returned from Children’s Hospital, rejoined his father.
Most if not all of Gill’s teammates gave Gill a high-five and welcomed him home.
“I’m excited and emotional but I feel good,” Gill said. “I’m home, my family is here – and the kids, that’s what it’s about” Gill said.
Several times during the interview passers by stopped to say hello to Gill and give him donations for the cause. One man said he didn’t have much to give. “One cent is a good cent,” Gill replied.
Developing perspective about life’s difficulties is one of the highlights of the tour. “I saw Brett when we were on top of the Hump and there he was smiling,” Gill said of the young cancer fighter. “You know, we don’t know what pain is and I think we all need to suck it up.”
Riders are spending the night in Alberni before departing for Ucluelet-Tofino on Saturday.
With a week more to go in the tour the ride is becoming more challenging as time tics on. But riders are cogs in a bigger machine with a bigger purpose. “I’m just an engine on a bike but I’m helping steer the train in the right direction to help solve the problem,” Gill said.
Riders were attending functions at Toyota, Co-op, and Boston Pizza. And they will be in attendance at the Red Serge dinner at the Italian Canadian Hall.
Steve Little presented a $6,700 donation to the tour on behalf of Walmart.