Born and raised in Victoria, Matt Rutherford couldn’t be more honoured to be a rider on this year’s Tour de Rock team, an organization that he’s admired since his childhood.
“I grew up watching the men and women of our Island police departments participate in Tour de Rock,” said Rutherford, a constable with the Victoria Police Department.
“In previous years, I have admired the dedication that I saw in the tour members, and listening to the stories of local families affected by pediatric cancer was always difficult.”
A particularly difficult story for Rutherford is that of his junior rider, Rafael, whose younger sister, Madrona, died of pediatric cancer at the age of two. But it is in the strength of Rafael and his family that Rutherford finds the courage to ride on.
“My biggest inspiration so far is meeting my junior rider’s family. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what they have gone through in their lives and it helps me push that extra few kilometres every ride,” Rutherford said.
Like each of his Tour teammates, Rutherford has been personally affected by cancer, with his father and mother-in-law diagnosed in 2010. Both are now living cancer-free.
It’s out of an appreciation for the Canadian Cancer Society and a desire to help others that Rutherford is eager to do all that he can to raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research and support programs such as Camp Goodtimes.
“I will never be able to comprehend how much physical pain these children will go through with cancer treatments and the emotional pain felt by their family. I am privileged to be able to raise funds to help ease this pain by assisting to enable these children to attend Camp Goodtimes,” Rutherford said.
Since the beginning of his tour training in March, Rutherford said he’s most enjoyed the riding and the experience of bonding as a team. What he’s looking forward to, in addition to the actual journey down the length of Vancouver Island when the Tour kicks off in Port Alice on Sept. 20, is a visit to Camp Goodtimes.
“From what I have heard, it is a very moving experience,” Rutherford said.
While his tour experience hasn’t quite sunk in yet, Rutherford said it’s taught him to better appreciate the little things.
“This experience has affected me by giving me an appreciation for the small things in life,” he said. “I think that the experience at Camp Goodtimes, and during the actual tour itself will be the life changing part.”
It’s with a positive outlook and a dedication towards change that Rutherford is ready to ride for children and their families affected by cancer.
“With every pedal stroke I make, I hope that it brings us closer to preventing this horrible disease,” he said. “It is my wish that one day police members do not have to ride the length of the Island, as pediatric cancers become 100 per cent curable.”
Read more about Rutherford’s journey by following Matt Rutherford 2015 Tour de Rock on Facebook.