Students at Heritage Elementary school in Prince George gave a warm send off Friday to the 11 riders participating in this year’s Cops for Cancer Tour de North.
The inspiring seven-day fundraising initiative sees law enforcement and emergency services personnel cycle across the region to raise money for childhood cancer research and a national support system for families affected by childhood cancer.
The riders began their journey with a special ceremony at Heritage Elementary school with Prince George Mayor Simon Yu and Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty and the UHNBC Drummers in attendance.
“Heroes wear badges and uniforms that say police, fire, ambulance, and they make our community safe and sound so that we can sleep safely at night,” said Doherty to the students.
“But they also do things in their off time, or they're away from their families to make things better for our communities, and make things better for people that are struggling, like with cancer. That’s what all these police officers, paramedics, firefighters, ambulance people — that's what they're doing. They're fighting cancer.”
“I want to say a big thank you for all of your enthusiasm and your cheers. It means so much to for us to start our journey with your school,” said Ninon Daubigeon, a senior manager with Cops for Cancer.
“What I love about cops for cancer and why I'm so passionate about working with this program, is that it started with one friendship, one cop, and one child who's going through cancer,” she said.
Cops for Cancer first began in 1994, when Sgt. Gary Goulet of the Edmonton Police Service met Lyle Jorgenson, a then 5-year-old boy who had cancer.
Goulet requested the meeting after learning that Lyle was being ridiculed at school because of his hair loss due to chemotherapy. Goulet was so moved by the boy’s story that he rallied his colleagues to shave their heads in solidarity.
In 1997, the first Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock launched with a dozen police officers cycling from one end of Vancouver Island to the other. Today, Cops for Cancer has evolved across the country including four cycling tours in B.C.
“So, what that has taught me is that anyone can make a difference. All of us here today, every single one of us can make the difference and make the change and can do something positive for your community,” said Daubigeon.
“Your cheers today, and you sending us in a positive way out on our journey makes the difference. Your cheers will fuel us for the rest of the day, the rest of the seven days all the way to Prince Rupert.”
Tour de North will and end in Prince Rupert on Sept. 21.
Hundreds of law enforcement and emergency services personnel have raised nearly $50 million through Cops for Cancer events.