Four coins featuring four strong kids marks the latest endeavour as Cops for Cancer engages communities raising awareness and funds for children and families.
This year, the four Cops for Cancer cycling tours collaborated on a Challenge Coin Set. Each site – Tour de Rock, Tour de Valley, Tour de Coast and Tour de North – selected an honorary rider who dressed as their favourite superhero.
For the Tour de Rock coin, Nanaimo RCMP Const. Shane Coubrough, an alumni of the 2018 ride, chose 11-year-old Kaiden Finley of Parksville. Kaiden died March 21, 2019 after a long battle with brain cancer.
“I am grateful that I was able to participate in the tour that year and get to know Kaiden and his incredible family. They showed up at every fundraiser and are tireless supporters of the Tour de Rock. While he underwent numerous operations and procedures, Kaiden carried a small Flash figurine as he was his favourite comic book character,” Coubrough said.
Halfway through that tour the team learned Kaiden’s cancer had returned and there were no treatment options other than to make his time left as comfortable and jam-packed with fun as possible.
“The news galvanized our team and we adopted Flash’s lightning bolt as a way to show our support for not only Kaiden, but all of the families facing similar situations. The lightning bolt has continued to be worn by riders to represent not only how far we have come in treating pediatric cancer but how far we have to go,” said Coubrough, who also served as a 2019 Tour De Rock trainer and in 2020 was a trainer and rider.
Each tour’s coin has a similar story and it started with Tour de Coast rider Ahmed Bouchiba who championed the idea, reached out to fellow tour alumni for suggestions for junior riders and did much of the design work.
Now in his third year riding, Bouchiba a former deputy sheriff, serves as a co-captain. As a teen, Bouchiba’s mom was diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer. The doctors removed her stomach and though she is cancer-free now, she has been living with the side effects of treatment since.
“I ride to help fundraise for research and in hope that one day we will find a cure for this disease that doesn’t discriminate and affects many every day,” he said.
When COVID-19 impacted the 2020 ride and associated fundraising, Bouchiba created a coin for Tour de Coast that raised more than $8,000. This year he invited the other tours in B.C. to create a collection.
Tour de Coast’s junior rider is Casey Wright.
Described as a courageous and determined young man who has battled cancer and won many times since he was a baby, Casey is still in and out of hospitals for a variety of reasons, Bouchiba said. “He does it with a smile on his face, and his outlook on life is inspiring. His motto as he says has always been ‘hope and love’.
Currently about 80 per cent of all children diagnosed thrive long term. Unfortunately, this also means that one in four children fall to the disease, Coubrough noted. “Kaiden lost his courageous battle in 2019 but continued to champion the cause no matter how sick he got because he wanted nothing more than for no other kid to go through what he did.”
This coin set was largely presold with an order placed this summer, and anyone looking for one would need to seek out a challenge coin group online.
“Hopefully this becomes an annual effort between the tours highlighting a different superhero each year,” Coubrough said.
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