If there’s an unofficial theme for the 22nd annual Cops For Cancer Tour de Rock team that was introduced at Glanford middle school on Friday morning, it’s about finding the right fit.
Students, teachers and first responders packed the gym and a select group performed a First Nations welcome to the Tour de Rock procession. The Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock is a fundraising event that raises money for pediatric cancer research and support programs for children with a history of cancer. The Tour de Rock team cycles from one end of the Vancouver Island to the other, covering 1,000 kilometres and visiting more than 27 communities along the way.
Tour de Rock 2018 alumni rider Yvonne Raymond from CTV Vancouver Island served as master of ceremonies for the event, announcing the riders. Each member received their Coast Capital Savings training jersey and a new Trek road bike.
The last rider of the morning she announced is 2019 media guest Scott Cunningham, her husband, also a CTV reporter. But Raymond, who’s acting in a support role this year, and Cunningham aren’t the only partnership on this year’s ride.
Oak Bay Police officer Sandrine Perry and her husband Jason Perry, a paramedic with B.C. Ambulance, were both named to the 2019 Tour de Rock team. In fact, when Jason walked up to get his jersey, he was given the jersey that was supposed to go to Sandrine.
“I know the spandex is supposed to be tight but this is a little too tight,” Jason laughed.
The two figured it out when Sandrine got her jersey next. Sure enough it was a men’s large. It was a switchup the two quite enjoyed. Tour de Rock needs its lighter moments because most days, it’s a gut-check. Just prior to the introductions Raymond recognized the tragic loss of Kaiden Finley, a 2018 junior rider from Parksville, who died from brain cancer in March.
It was meeting young Kaiden that inspired her to join the Tour, Sandrine said.
“I did the jail and bail two years ago, and last year I attended Oak Bay High’s Tour de Rock visit and I met Kaiden and his family, and if you met Kaiden, you were inspired,” Sandrine said. “You couldn’t meet them without being inspired.”
Sandrine has been in policing 10 years and spent the past 2.5 years with the Oak Bay Police Department while Jason has been a paramedic 20 years, 18 as a street paramedic and the past two in the B.C. Ambulance dispatch office.
“We have three kids ourselves (19, 17 and 6) and we can’t imagine having a child who falls ill to cancer so anything we can do to give back is a reason, we’re really honoured.”
Since its inception in 1998, The Tour de Rock has become Vancouver Island’s number one fundraiser, raising over $25 million to support pediatric cancer research and fund Camp Goodtimes.
The 2019 Tour de Rock team is: Gord Burton, Military Police - CFB Comox, Scott Cunningham, media rider, CTV Vancouver Island, Simon Douthwaite, guest rider (father of junior riders) and currency trader, Pamela Garon, Saanich Police, Ben Hughes Fire Victoria Airport Authority Fire, Timothy Kenning of Oceanside RCMP, Kim Laidman of Victoria Police, Cassie Loveless paramedic, BC Ambulance, Dayne Lyons of North Cowichan Duncan RCMP, Jack MacNeill of RCMP Island District, Cydney MacNeill of Nanaimo RCMP, Alexandria Marshall of CFB Esquimalt Fire, Kara Martin of Westshore RCMP, Eric Misener of Saanich Police, Sandrine Perry of Oak Bay Police, Jason Perry Paramedic of BC Ambulance, Mark Sieben, guest rider, Deputy Minister and Deputy Solicitor General at the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Michael Smith of the Military Police - CFB Esquimalt, Warren Stratton, firefighter with View Royal, Kim Taylor of Victoria Police and Timothy Whitehead of Campbell River/Sayward RCMP
The Tour de Rock team will spend the next five months training and fundraising, before setting out on Sept. 21 for the 1,100 km tour of our rock, Vancouver Island, beginning in Port Alice and ending in Victoria on October 4th.