With only one chance to make every kilometre count, four South Island police officers have their bicycle pedals primed to make a difference.
Victoria Police Department constables Alvin Deo and Mike Massine, Oak Bay reserve constable Jarrod Christison and Cpl. Mary Brigham, a CFB Esquimalt military police officer, will be among 22 police and media riders in this year’s Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock fundraiser.
Participants can only take part in the event once, which is why these four officers are striving to raise $75,000 for the event.
Every year the tour generates more than $1 million for pediatric cancer research and Camp Goodtimes in Maple Ridge, a medically supported summer camp for kids with cancer and survivors of the disease.
Christison, who is looking to raise $30,000, recalls when past riders stopped at his school.
“Seeing them do the tour, I always looked up to that,” he said. “I also think it’s the ultimate form of volunteerism.”
The 1,000-kilometre, 14-day journey from Port Alice to Victoria will be physically and emotionally demanding. The cyclists will meet children with cancer and people wanting to donate.
Brigham is planning to shave her head during the ride to show solidarity with young cancer patients who have lost their hair through treatment.
“It’s going to be emotional,” the military police officer said of the journey her team has been preparing for since March.
“Regardless of all the training we’re doing, it doesn’t compare to what these (kids) are going through with their chemotherapy and recovering,” said Brigham, whose goal is to raise $5,000.
“It’ll be a real mix of emotions,” said VicPD’s Massine of the upcoming ride. “I’m not above crying.”
Massine’s desire to participate dates back to 1998 when he was a Saanich cop and his police colleague Const. Martin Pepper initiated the first Tour de Rock. Massine is also inspired by his 19-year-old stepdaughter who has a rare syndrome for which she requires constant care.
“It’s opened my eyes to the needs parents have when they do have kids who are sick in one way or another,” said Massine, who hopes to fund raise $25,000.
It was only natural for Deo to help kids in need since, as a youth investigator, he spends most of his day doing just that. He is also a father to three young children.
“I have kids of my own and just the thought of them suffering from cancer is pretty terrifying,” said Deo, who aspires to raise $15,000. “Realizing there are other families out there that are going through this right now, I just wanted to do whatever I could to help out.”
Tour de Rock happens Sept. 24 to Oct. 7. To donate, please call 250-592-2244 or visit www.cancer.ca, select your province and click the Vancouver Island Tour de Rock link.