TOUR de ROCK: Hitting close to home

Comox Mounties have many people they’re riding for in battle against cancer

James Matsuda

James Matsuda

Steve Trevor is riding for Griffyn who, despite having yet to reach his first birthday, has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy.

James Matsuda is riding on behalf of several people – including his late father – who have succumbed to or are battling cancer.

Both are part of the 22-person Canadian Cancer Society Cops For Cancer Tour de Rock team that will cycle the length of Vancouver Island this fall.

Trevor, an RCMP constable who grew up in Port Alberni, has volunteered at previous Cops For Cancer red serge events. This winter, the tour hit close to home when Griffyn – whose parents are fellow Mounties at the Comox Valley RCMP detachment – was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer.

Doctors removed one of Griffyn’s adrenal glands as a newborn. By seven months, the youngster was already on his fourth round of chemotherapy.

“I’ve wanted to do the tour for a few years,” said Trevor, a father of two daughters. “I’ve been here seven years now. This year it became personal with Griffyn.”

Matsuda, an auxiliary officer for three years, is the produce supervisor at Thrifty Foods in Courtenay. He works alongside fellow auxiliary RCMP member Rick Gaiga, who rode last year in honour of Christine Buijs, a Thrifty colleague and tour fundraiser who passed away from brain cancer.

Matsuda and his wife Belinda, who was active in Gaiga’s fundraising efforts, have both lost a father to cancer. Matsuda’s brother-in-law and another Thrifty co-worker are also stricken with a form of the disease.

“It’s one of these things that’s affected so many people,” said Matsuda, 45, a native of Ashcroft who moved to Courtenay in 1986. “It’s hard. So many people out there.”

The father of four teenagers is inspired by the tour’s mandate to raise money for pediatric cancer research and programs such as Camp Goodtimes for children with a history of cancer.

“You see grownups going through it, but now you see kids trying to go through it; it’s just not fair,” Matsuda said. “It’s a hard thing. But it’s a good cause, and that’s why we’re doing it.”

“It’s an honour to do,” Trevor added. “It’s been a challenge balancing work.”

Their journey started with weekly training sessions in March that increased to three times a week over the past four months. Along with other North Island team members, Trevor and Matsuda completed a tough climb to the top of Mount Washington.

Trevor, who had done a “bit of mountain biking” before signing on with the tour, recalls the average time was an hour-and-a-half from the chain-up area to the top.

“Most of us, we haven’t really been on a road bike, so it’s a new experience,” Matsuda said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)
Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

Landmarks such as Howard the giant gnome at Galey's Farm in Saanich make a stunning backdrop for celebratory dance in the Greater Victoria Festival Society trailer for its coming Dance Victoria campaign. (Screeshot/Greater Victoria Festival Society)
Residents’ videos help campaign Dance Across Victoria

Celebratory dance clips to be compiled into Greater Victoria Festival Society video

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read