A team of 25 law enforcement and emergency services personnel will set out on an 800-km bicycle trip Thursday to raise funds for pediatric cancer programs and research.
The Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley begins in Aldergrove and travels through more than a dozen Fraser Valley communities – including South Surrey and White Rock on Sept. 27 – before ending in Abbotsford Oct. 4.
In every community, the tour stops at schools and supporter businesses to promote the ride and its cause.
The Tour de Fraser Valley includes participants from the Semiahmoo Peninsula and surrounding communities.
Surrey RCMP Const. Amber Briggs, 36, said she will take part for the first time this year after learning about Camp Goodtimes – a unique summer recreation program for kids and teens with cancer.
“That puts into perspective where the funds are going and how the funds are being spent,” she told Peace Arch News last week. “Kids can actually feel like kids for a week in their lives. So it’s pretty special to see how the funds are being used and it’s very heartfelt.”
The four-year Surrey RCMP member noted that while the hundreds of kilometers of training for the ride can be daunting, it’s nothing compared to what the children and teens at Camp Goodtimes have to endure.
“As much pain as you’re having on the rides, chemo is worse,” she said. “The rides we have had are really tough. But when you see the kids at the camp and their perseverance, it puts into perspective your pain versus their pain.
“Because I physically can I have an obligation. As a police officer, it’s our duty.”
The first Cops for Cancer program started in 1994, when an Edmonton police officer with a shaved head posed for a photo with a young cancer patient.
The officer wanted to support the boy, who was being ridiculed at school because of his hair loss.
Other officers joined, and Cops for Cancer was launched.
It has since expanded across the province to include four tours, raising more than $25 million to fund pediatric cancer programs and research through the Canadian Cancer Society.