Last October, 100 past and present riders with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock headed out on a ride in dedication to a man who volunteered countless hours to the Tour.
Battling cancer himself at the time, 20-year Saanich police officer Mike Lawless, joined by his wife Krista, emerged from their Central Saanich home that day to a wall of riders sporting the colourful Tour de Rock team jerseys. The group formed a collective ring of support around the couple.
Lawless, whose dedication to the fight against pediatric cancer proved a catalyst for many riders who rode the Tour after him, was cheered on by those who benefitted from his support over his years.
It was, therefore, a cruel irony last month when Lawless was felled by a disease he sacrificed so much, for so long to beat. The 44-year-old father of two, well known among the Tour de Rock community as the Road Boss, was gone.
At his celebration of life, held recently on the ground floor of Langford’s Westin Bear Mountain Resort – seating for 400 proved too small for the crowd – Mike’s many friends, family and colleagues gathered to pay their respects amid hugs, stories and plenty of tears.
The man’s unwavering dedication and his countless hours of volunteerism, benefitting some who will never know his name, cannot be measured only in time. For people like Mike Lawless, it is the moments of shared silence across the communities he has touched with fellow riders that truly tell the tale.
Communities and individuals around Greater Victoria, including those on the West Shore, continue to raise funds and contribute in other ways to dozens of other excellent community building and humanitarian causes.
But when the call goes out for a new batch of riders to tackle the 2015 Tour de Rock – peace officers and media can ride just once – we predict the memory of Lawless’ efforts, dedication and support will prompt his former teammates to talk it up to their colleagues and do their best to support them in the same way.