The weather was wet, but the mood was bright as more than 20 police officers and emergency services personnel rode into Chilliwack as part of the Cops For Cancer Tour de Valley.
They were part of a team of riders taking part is a series of events, all aimed at raising awareness and money for pediatric cancer research.
A total of 107 cyclists will participate in four different tours that will visit businesses and schools from Fort St. John in the province’s north to the southernmost reaches of Vancouver Island.
“For more than 15 years, communities throughout the Fraser Valley have welcomed us, hosting events that we look forward to each year,” says rider Trevor Sales, the team captain for the Tour de Valley, which takes riders from Tsawwassen to Boston Bar.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling when you see the lengths people go to, welcoming and supporting the riders, because they too believe that no child should have to face cancer.”
In Chilliwack the riders stopped by several schools and local businesses, including the office of The Chilliwack Progress.
Rain pelted down during parts of their ride. “It was hard,” said Langley RCMP member Jason Ryan, “but not as hard as cancer.”
In addition to the Tour de Valley, the Tour de Rock will cover Vancouver Island, the Tour de North will travel through northern British Columbia from Prince George to Prince Rupert (with a stop in Kitimat), and the Tour de Coast will journey around Greater Vancouver and up to Powell River and Pemberton.
“All Cops for Cancer riders take part in rigorous training – they need to learn how to pace themselves and ride in a peloton,” says Allan Mugford, Fraser Valley regional director for the Canadian Cancer Society. “But what they can never prepare for is the emotional impact of seeing a child with cancer and the toll it takes on their entire family.”
The Cops for Cancer campaign runs through September, with money raised going to fund leading edge cancer research and support programs operated by the Canadian Cancer Society like Camp Goodtimes.