When Dean Norris-Jones rides 1,100 kilometres this fall he’ll have roughly the same amount of people behind him.
The vice-principal at Reynolds secondary attributes his role as rider on this year’s Tour de Rock to the students who have, for 10 years, taken ownership of a nine-day Cops for Cancer fundraising frenzy.
Norris-Jones was announced as special guest rider in the 2014 Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock rider during Friday’s official team launch at Reynolds. Norris-Jones will represent the support schools across Vancouver Island.
“It’s a bit humbling because I’m being recognized as a rider, but it’s a symbol of what everyone else has done,” Norris-Jones said prior to the announcement. “It’s recognition of all the hard work that the thousands of kids and have put in.”
The teacher battled and defeated thyroid cancer more than a decade ago and subsequently suggested supporting the tour with some school fundraising.
Kids helping kids after all is a great story.
“That first year we set a goal to see if we could raise $5 for every person in the building that’s $5,000,”
They amassed $16,000.
Since then students and staff have sculpted the two-week campaign designed to combat fundraising fatigue. It starts the Tuesday eight school days before the Canadian Cancer Society tour riders roll through the front door.
“The kids have really come to own the fundraising and it really galvanizes the staff and students in the school,” he said. “This is a great 10th year for us, with any luck we’ll pass the half million mark in fundraising.”
Last year they raised $101,000
“It’s pretty impressive stuff. The staff here is so amazing and the kids are just incredible,” Norris-Jones said. “It’s a cause that resonates deeply with everyone.”
He’s training with the team in preparation for the 1,100-kilometre, two-week bicycle journey down Vancouver Island that starts Sept. 20.
“I turn 55 this year, things that came easy at 25 and 35 aren’t coming as easy as they were,” he said. “For sure it’s testing me, but it’s kind of ‘hurts so good’,”
Many a rider has attested over the past 16 annual rides that the emotional often outweighs the physical anyway. Things could get heady when he rolls back to the roost of Reynolds in early October. But he’s not phased.
“I’m more about the journey than the goal, the end line. I’m going to take every day as it comes. I live in the moment more than looking forward,” he said, adding after a pause… “It will definitely be impactful for me.”
Tour de Rock team for 2014 also includes:
Const. Kyle Ushock (Campbell River), Cpl. Matthew Pidgeon (CFB Comox), Cpl. Adam Caruthers (CFB Esquimalt), Const. Colleen Henry (Comox), Aux. Chris Kippel (Comox), Const. Andrea Folk (Comos), Aux. Elizabeth Avis (Cowichan), Carla Johnson (media) Const. Ryan Blakely (Nanaimo), Aux. Carrie Jordan (Oak Bay), Const. George Minshull (Oceanside) Const. Jordan Reid (Oceanside), Const. Tyson Richard (Port Hardy) Sgt. Jason Bland (Saanich), Const. Heather Hunter (Saanich), Const. Justin Whittaker (Saanich), Cpl. Jack McClintock (Central Saanich-retired), Katie DeRosa (media), Chandler Grieve (media), Const. Ryan Koropatniski (Victoria), Det. Lori Lumley (Victoria), Const. Jennifer Young (Victoria) Staff Sgt. Steve Wright (West Shore).