As with many Tour de Rock riders, the motivation for Terry Curry to get involved stems from personal experiences with cancer, including a battle of his own.
Curry is the oldest rider on the tour at 66 and not only battled prostate cancer himself, after being diagnosed in 2005, but he also lost a brother to childhood cancer when he was young.
“In 1965 I lost my 15-year-old brother to leukemia,” Curry said. “He was diagnosed in September and by June he passed away. There was no real treatment then, nothing like compared to now.”
Curry said the memories of his brother and the thought of offering hope to children battling the same disease spurred him on to apply to participate in the Tour.
“I had always wanted to ride in the Tour de Rock but events in my life just never lined up,” he said.
Curry spent 29 years with the RCMP and retired in 2007, after which he began working as a reserve constable at the airport with the Sidney North Saanich RCMP.
When those positions were cut this past spring, Curry began working with the RCMP’s South Island Integrated Marine Unit. He’s thankful the stars finally aligned for him to be able to participate in the Tour.
“I am working a few days a week doing that right now which has given me the flexibility to train for the Tour. I was lucky enough to be able to take off time in September and October for fundraising and the ride itself,” he said.
Curry’s teammate from the Saanich Peninsula, also a reserve constable with the Sidney North Saanich RCMP, is Alan Neville-Rutherford.
The two met through work connections, with Curry working as the RCMP reserve constable for the airport and Neville-Rutherford working for G4S, which handles airport security.
Personal connections with cancer are also what spurred Neville-Rutherford to get involved.
“The main motivation for me to ride this year was that I had a cousin who passed away from lymphoma a year after being diagnosed,” Neville-Rutherford said.
“We were very close. He had three teenage kids and was the same age as me so it was a real eye-opener.”
Neville-Rutherford has been a member of the Sidney North Saanich RCMP auxiliary since 2006 and an avid supporter of the Tour de Rock for many years.
“You could usually find me at the Thursday (Sidney) Night Market selling Tour de Rock T-shirts at the RCMP booth and people always asked me if I was the Tour de Rock rider,” he said.
“I’m happy to be able to say that I am now, and I’m hoping to do everything I can to raise as much as possible for the pediatric cancer.”
The two teammates are training three days a week with the 19 other riders, and credit their trainers in getting them in top shape for the Tour, which begins Sept. 21.
“Neither of us ever thought we’d be able to ride the speeds and distances we do. It’s really amazing how much the trainers have helped us and guided us,” Neville-Rutherford said. “Every day we ride it’s a new challenge but a doable one, when you think about what those kids go through. At the end of the day, it really comes down to that — supporting each other as a team so we can raise as much as possible for the kids.”