Williams Lake RCMP members are joining the fight to make a difference in the lives of children with cancer and their families.
The Cops for Cancer Tour de North team has been busy training for its bike ride this September to raise money for children affected by the disease.
This year’s tour will see riders embark on an 850-kilometre journey from Prince George to Prince Rupert in seven days, starting Friday, Sept. 14.
Williams Lake manger of community safety Dave Dickson has been a member of the Tour de North team since 2011 and has missed the annual fundraising event just three times — once because of last year’s wildfires, and another year due to injury.
He said the team, locally, is working hard in preparation for this year’s ride.
Joining Dickson from the Williams Lake RCMP for the Tour de North are Joel Kooger and his wife, Alison Kooger, Taylor Callens and Isaac Perreault Labbe.
“We’re in pretty good shape,” he said of looking forward to the journey. “I think we could leave tomorrow and get it done.”
The longest section of the ride is a 175-trek from Vanderhoof, to Fort St. James and then back on Highway 16 to Fraser Lake, all in one day.
He added everyone on the team is looking forward to the scenic ride from Prince George to Prince Rupert.
“I’ve worked in that area and know people in all the communities, so it’s like an old home,” he said. “The people are enjoyable, and incredibly kind. We go to lots of schools and lots of First Nations communities along the way, and it’s just a common goal for us: how can we get rid of this wretched cancer? It doesn’t matter who you are you could get stuck with this disease.”
Dickson said it’s all about the kids and giving them a fighting chance.
Joel, meanwhile, is looking forward to the opportunity to take part in the ride with his wife and, also, to put the wheels back in motion after recovering from an achilles tendon rupture earlier this year.
“This will be my third year doing Cops for Cancer, and I really enjoy the ride,” Joel said. “At first I wanted to see some different parts of the province, but with four kids that don’t have any issues I can’t imagine them having cancer and having to go through that as a whole family.”
Joel said he often makes a point of calling families affected he’s met during the ride to ask how things are going.
“I love how the communities get behind the event.”
His wife, Alison, added she’s looking forward to the challenge, and said it’s a great way to fundraise.
“I’m also thankful every day that my kids aren’t sick, but I know it could change any day,” Alison said.
“My heart goes out to the families who are living with a child with cancer. I can’t imagine.”
Money raised from Cops for Cancer Tour de North will help fund leading-edge pediatric cancer research to improve cancer treatments, prevent cancer and save lives; provide reliable and up-to-date information on cancer, risk reduction and treatment and support Camp Goodtimes.
The team has already raised more than $50,000 of its $200,000 fundraising goal.
And on Wednesday, Sept. 12, the Williams Lake Cops for Cancer Tour de North team will host its Jail and Bail fundraiser at Spirit Square on Oliver Street from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. where Cariboo residents can have a person in the community ‘arrested’ and locked in a mock prison cell at Spirit Square.
From there, equipped with just a cell phone, they’ll need to tap into their family members, colleagues and friends to fundraise enough money in order to be released on bail.
For anyone wanting to make a donation to the Cops for Cancer Tour de North team, options are available.
You can either donate to the Williams Lake group as a whole, or sponsor an individual rider at www.tourdenorth.ca and follow the website links to the Tour de North team. You can also follow along the journey on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/copstourdenorth.
Dickson said if anyone has any questions they can feel free to give him a call at the RCMP detachment at 250-392-6211.
And, Joel said, if you see them riding, don’t be afraid to give a holler.
“Give us a honk or a wave if you see us,” he said.
“We won’t be too hard to spot in the bright red and yellow colours.”
This year’s Tour de North schedule is as follows:
• Friday, Sept. 14 (day one): Prince George to Vanderhoof (100 kilometres)
• Saturday, Sept. 15 (day two): Vanderhoof to Fort St. James (120 kilometres) and return to Fraser Lake (175 kilometres)
• Sunday, Sept. 16 (day three): Fraser Lake to Burns Lake (70 kilometres)
• Monday, Sept. 17 (day four): Burns Lake to Smithers (150 kilometres)
• Tuesday, Sept. 18 (day five): Smithers to Hazelton (75 kilometres)
• Wednesday, Sept. 19 (day six): Hazelton to Terrace (145 kilometres)
• Thursday, Sept. 20 (day seven): Terrace to Prince Rupert (150 kilometres)