VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – In its 20th year in B.C., the annual Cops for Cancer bike ride has raised way more money than participants anticipated. So far, more than $771,000 has been brought in. The goal was $625,000, and the number is still climbing.
The proceeds go to fund local pediatric cancer research and Camp Goodtimes, which is in Maple Ridge and allows kids, some of whom are terminal, to enjoy being children while fighting the disease.
Vancouver Police Constable Steve Addison captained the 2019 team. He says the ride wasn’t easy, but getting to meet sick kids along the way helped motivate them.
“It’s a long time in the saddle on the bike — uphill, through wind, through rain, it’s cold and when we get to the communities and we get such a warm welcome it is inspiring to keep up going. Throughout the tour every community we went to, we got to meet young people who benefited from the money we raised,” he says.
That’s a wrap! The 2019 Tour de Coast raised a record $770,000!!! Way to go #VPD Team! Thank you to everyone for your support and for donating to this amazing cause! @VancouverPD @VPDTrafficUnit @TourdeCoast @cancersociety #CopsforCancer @Canuckula pic.twitter.com/DYm8eh4G6X
— Staff Sgt. Dave Duncan (@duncan1557) September 28, 2019
“So, along the way, we had the chance to meet up with young people who are either currently going through cancer treatment or have gone through cancer treatment and have benefited from programs like Camp Goodtimes and we get to see first hand the impact of the money we raised on those young people and it really gives us the motivation to keep us going when things get hard. When we’re out there riding our bikes and it’s cold and we start to feel sorry for ourselves because it’s hard, seeing a young person who’s had it much harder than we’ll ever know, really puts things into perspective for us.”
For all the riders, Addison admits, it was an emotional experience.
“To see the courage of some young people who have endured so much and the positivity that they have and the energy that they have to live life did strike a chord with us as we were riding and it kept us going. There are a lot of riders out there who, when we’re meeting with people, it’s not uncommon to see riders with tears in their eyes as they’re meeting these young people and really learning about what we do and that the money we raised has a positive impact on their lives.”
— Cst Lee Marten (@Canuckula) September 23, 2019
Addison, who’s been involved in the ride for the last four years, shares a touching story of a young girl who battled and won her fight against cancer, in order to highlight the importance participating every year.
“Two years ago, when we riding up in Pemberton, there was this young girl who lived there and she had been going through cancer treatment. For years she had seen us come through town and ride by her house and she had always wanted to come out and meet us. It took a number of years for her to gain the courage to do so. So, to give you some context, when we go to Pemberton there’s not many places to ride, and there’s this road through Pemberton Valley that we ride out and you basically go out into the pavement, stops — it’s like an hour out and then we turn around and come back and her house is on that road,” he says.
“She had seen us ride out, like she had done many years before and as we were riding back towards town, we see this person at the end of their driveway and as we get closer we see she’s holding a sign that says, ‘Cancer free. Thank you.’ We stopped. We introduced ourselves and we picked her up and took her for a ride in one of our support vehicles. From that one interaction that we had two years ago, we’ve been able to have a significant impact on her life. She’s been able to go to Camp Goodtimes. She’s working on a leadership program to be a leader at Camp Goodtimes. She’s directly and positively benefited from the simple interaction of meeting us on our tour.”
The ride has made it a point to always interact with some of the young children who take the time to greet the officers along the way.
“We’ll often pick them up in one of our support vehicles, drive them around, let them hang out with some of the cops, some of the riders, take them to the school stops and community stops we do and introduce them to the people that are donating, so those people can understand as well and put a face to the money they’re donating and see directly how it impacts real people.”
Despite the heartbreak that sometimes surfaces when hearing of the children’s cases or learning about the battle against a disease that, in some way or another, has touched everyone — Addison feels it’s worth it.
“Although we’re doing a physical challenge and it’s hard on us, to meet these young people and to know what we’re doing is impacting them and having a positive impact on their lives and to be able to introduce them to people in communities that are donating money and doing something to help them live better lives — it’s such a rewarding experience.”
Day 7! We made our way to Pitt Meadows and stopped at many schools. Amazing to see the next generation involved in these events. 93 km down. 647 KM to date and as of today we reached our goal of fundraising over 625000$!!@TourdeCoast #copsforcancer pic.twitter.com/k6fhzcPxoR
— Dep. Ahmed Bouchiba (@ahmed_bouc) September 25, 2019
A total of 37 riders from various police detachments across the Lower Mainland biked over 800 kilometres over nine days travelling from Vancouver to places like Sechelt, Powell River, Lund, Whistler, Pemberton and then back to Metro Vancouver.
“Everywhere we went, the response was so amazing and so welcoming, whether it was little rotary clubs in Sechelt, or Lions Clubs in Powell River or high school students in Burnaby. Everywhere we go there was so much enthusiasm for what we do and enthusiasm to help make life a little bit better for these young people who are having a rough go of it,” says Addison.
Dozens of police officers from across the region are biking 800 kms over nine days for a good cause as part of #CopsforCancer. If you can donate any amount of money to help fund pediatric cancer research, that would be great. Good luck to all the riders! https://t.co/Xm9ZCyuh0N pic.twitter.com/69RMwHUETa
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) September 18, 2019
Donations are still being accepted. For more information on how you can help, click here.