Two Williams Lake RCMP officers are lending their support in the fight against pediatric cancer.
Const. Nick Brown and Const. Kevin Wiebe of the Williams Lake detachment will ride in this year’s Cops for Cancer Tour de North.
Normally a roughly 850-kilometre, seven-day bike ride from Prince George to Prince Rupert, this year’s event has been modified due to COVID-19. Funds raised for the annual event go to the Canadian Cancer Society to raise money for children affected by cancer, and their families.
The 30 Tour de North participants will each ride separate legs beginning on Sept. 16 from various communities throughout B.C.’s northern Interior, converging in Prince George on Sept. 18, for the event’s conclusion.
Both Brown, who is originally from Terrace, and Wiebe, who grew up on Vancouver Island, said they wanted to help fundraise because they’ve both been touched, personally, by cancer. Brown’s sister-in-law battled leukemia, while Wiebe said his mother is a breast cancer survivor, and his grandmother died from the disease.
“The entire community and surrounding communities rallied for her in a tremendous fundraising effort,” Wiebe said of the support his sister-in-law received. “I always remembered the generosity of people that didn’t even know her, and it’s always weighed in the back of my mind to contribute to cancer research beyond the people I know to help pay it back.”
Brown added when the opportunity presented itself to ride as part of this year’s Tour de North team, he couldn’t say no.
“For me, growing up on Vancouver Island, the Tour de Rock Cops for Cancer ride was a big, annual event and really big in the schools,” Brown said. “As a kid it was always so exciting to see the Cops for Cancer riders come through town and, as time progressed and I expressed interest in this career, it was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to.”
Brown said also of significance is when he was stationed at the Williams Lake RCMP detachment two years ago Wiebe was his field coach, showing him the ropes around the city and the detachment.
“The opportunity to ride with Kevin was another motivator,” he said.
Wiebe and Brown will begin their ride in Williams Lake on Sept. 16 and ride to Quesnel. The following day, on Sept. 17, they will meet with the rest of the team in Prince George, before hosting more Cops for Cancer Tour de North wrap-up events in the Spruce Capital on Sept. 18.
Both riders received their bicycles from Prince George-based Cycle Logic — which now has a storefront open in Williams Lake along Highway 97 — a couple of months ago and have been training since.
They have also both been fundraising locally within the community, and online through their individual Tour de North fundraising pages, and will host another event this Friday, Aug. 28, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Save-On-Foods in Williams Lake. Wiebe and Brown have set the goal of raising $3,000 each.
“One thing that we’ve taken away is the people from Williams Lake, and the business owners, are so generous,” Wiebe said. “This city has been far, far more generous than we expected, especially during the pandemic where unemployment is at an all-time high.”
Brown said the support they’ve received so far his been incredibly uplifting.
“In our line of work we tend to see a lot of the negatives in the community,” he said. “It’s been an incredible boost to see the raw generosity of this small town, and it’s a good refresher that there are so many wonderful people that make up this community, and it’s been a very positive experience.”
If anyone would like to donate to the Cops for Cancer Tour de North, or has questions, they can drop by the Williams Lake RCMP detachment where information is available at the front desk.
“Any funds we can generate we feel are extra weighty this year,” Brown said.
“With COVID-19 the Canadian Cancer Society is projected to come short up to $100 million this year of its typical fundraising goals. Most of their usual fundraisers have been forced to be cancelled and that’s a pretty devastating hit for them.”
Anyone interested in donating can visit www.cancer.ca/copsforcancer and click on ‘Find Your Event,’ then ‘Cops for Cancer Tour de North,” then searching Brown or Wiebe in the list of fundraisers.