The 2021 Cops for Cancer – Tour de North wrapped up in Prince Rupert on Sept. 23, with riders finishing the 870 km trek across the province from Prince George after starting seven days previously.
The 17 riders amassed more than $130,000 for pediatric cancer research in the 20th annual fundraising effort.
Const. Kevin Wiebe from the Williams Lake RCMP detachment raised $4,143, exceeding a personal goal of $3,000.
Wiebe has been a constable with the local detachment for more than three years.
“The reason I joined Cops for Cancer Tour de North 2021 is because I’ve seen first hand the devastating effects of cancer and I want to contribute to the non-stop pursuit for a cure, ” he noted on his fundraising web page.
“In 2016-2017 I watched the city of Terrace rally behind my sister in-law as she battled leukemia. An immense fundraising effort by the community contributed to her living as long as she did. Although she lost her battle with cancer I never forgot the mass amount of people trying to help someone they didn’t even know. It moved me. And I want to return the favour.”
Riders from various emergency services such as fire, police and ambulance, battled horrific wild and wet weather conditions along the way but kept their spirits up with camaraderie and riding together, Jordan Venditelli, a firefighter from Prince Rupert, said.
Chetwynd RCMP Detachment Commander, Wahnese Antonioni Stevens, said she’s wanted to do the ride since first hearing about it in 2002 but, resources didn’t make it possible. She said she jumped at the opportunity to participate in the ride this year.
Riders met pediatric cancer patients along the way in Prince George and Hazelton, who shared their cancer journey stories.
“These kids are such amazing superheroes in my eyes,” Antonioni Stevens said. “I’m not going to lie — talking to the children and listening to their stories, I could not keep the tears down. It was that [heavy] feeling in your chest when you were just trying to take that deep breath in. You are trying to hold it together. I just couldn’t. I just couldn’t believe everything they have gone through.”
Kayla Tricker, who works with victim services and is a volunteer firefighter in Chetwynd said, while the weather was a struggle, it was nothing compared to what children with cancer go through.
“At the end of the day when you get to talk with those kids, your heart can’t keep up with what those families go through,” she said. “We got to know a few of them very personally and that is what pushed us through. These hard days are nothing compared to what they go through.”
It was also Venditelli’s first time participating in the tour and his efforts garnered him first place in fundraising by bringing in more than $6,247.
Jessica Friesen, BC Ambulance Service paramedic, also from Prince Rupert, gained second individual top spot with donations of more than $5,002 for the cause. Rider Thomas Peters followed up in third with $4,941.
Team 2021 riders raised more than $58,464. Bulkley Valley Cycling All-Stars accumulated $30,856, followed closely by the Blue Flames with $29,506.
The Tour de North started in Prince George, with riders stopping in Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, Fraser Lake, Burns Lake, Houston, Smithers, Witset, New Hazelton, Gitwangak, Terrace, with Prince Rupert being the finishing location.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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