Lending a helping hand is second nature to Michael Lemire.
An active member of the Tour de Rock community, Lemire, a commanding officer with the Military Police Unit in Esquimalt, has helped organize the annual Cops for Cancer fundraising event for the past two years and is taking his commitment one step further by being a rider on this year’s team.
After being stationed to Esquimalt in 2013, a colleague and former Tour rider introduced Lemire to the organization. Lemire was so impressed that he wanted to join the effort – a dream that soon became a reality as Lemire was invited to be on the Tour’s steering committee.
“Wherever I’m posted to I always like to be involved with a special organization on the community side, a sort of community involvement,” Lemire says. “And this was the organization that I wanted to be a part of.”
But being an active member in the community is nothing new to Lemire, who makes it a priority to volunteer and make a difference whenever he can.
In the past, Lemire has volunteered with the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Block Watch, among other organizations.
Gearing up for the upcoming 1,000-kilometre journey along the length of Vancouver Island, however, Lemire is prepared for a life-changing experience.
“It’s a life impact, so that’s pretty cool,” he says.
Already, Lemire has found inspiration through his experience as a Tour rider, and in particular through his junior rider, Melia, a five-year-old cancer survivor.
“What I’ve seen so far for inspiration is, first of all, meeting the junior rider that was assigned to me and seeing how she’s got through the cancer and she’s thriving and how her family has adapted (because of Tour de Rock),” Lemire says.
“I’ve talked to other junior riders and their families and just the comments we get back saying we would’ve probably never survived as a family getting through the cancer issue without the support from the Tour de Rock, the (Canadian) Cancer Society, and the funds raised, so that’s been pretty significant also.”
What Lemire enjoys most about being a Tour rider is interacting with the community and witnessing the huge waves of support that comes from locals, especially during a long training session with the team.
“When you’re out there doing hill climbing for two, three hours and you’re a little tired it’s nice to have someone go by and honk at you for some encouragement,” he says.
It’s that feeling of community support that fuels Lemire to ride on, and it’s also why he’s looking forward to the start of the Tour on Sept. 20.
“I’m looking forward to the physical demands of the ride, just to work through it and just to experience the whole ride, meet the people at the different events and try to make a difference is the biggest thing. Make people aware that working together we can eliminate this whole issue with cancer eventually with lifestyle changes and medical treatment.”
Read more about Lemire’s journey by following Tour de Rock Michael Lemire on Facebook.