Tour de Rock remembered: Hope Kopeck

Tour de Rock rider Arnold Lim shares a story from his first ride in 2013 that became a powerful motivator to want to ride again, in 2017

Hope Kopeck remembers pulling out her eyelashes and making a wish.

After four months of chemotherapy, the six-year old was losing the hair on her head and her eyelashes were slowly falling out in turn as treatments for a mango-sized tumour wrapped around her aorta and spinal column grew inside her.

On this day however, she isn’t concerned with any of that, prancing around in a black-and-white dress and a fluffy pink tiara at Carmie’s Cafe in Cumberland where the Tour de Rock team enjoy dinner. Despite the dearth of hair on her head, she looks like any other six-year old girl – and today she is the star of the show.

High fives, loud fits of laughter and animated bouts of hide-and-go-seek are on the menu for the affable young Royston school first grader, fresh off a trip to Camp Goodtimes where she spent three days with her father in late July.

“She never wanted to leave. It is a memory that Hope will have forever,” her father Jason Kopeck said. “She wants to go back again next year and wants to go every year.”

While Hope weaves her way though the glut of tables, high fiving and laughing with people she has never met, her father, a carpenter in Royston, watches from across the room, remembering a time when her spirit’s weren’t so high.

“Losing her hair was terrible for her and terrible for me… It was so sad to watch (but) she dealt with it,” he said. “We offered to have a wig for her but she didn’t want (it). She was happy to be who she was. She handled it better than I did.”

Eight months after diagnosis, she continues to battle a disease that threatens to take more than just her hair. The tumour, now intertwined with the nerves and blood vessels in her chest, makes surgery risky and chemotherapy isn’t working. Doctors have turned to pills to ebb the growth inside her – but the future is still uncertain.

Hope, sporting a new set of eye lashes and a new tuft of hair, says she hates cancer, but soldiers on starting grade 1 this September despite missing all of kindergarten from her diagnosis in February on. Looking forward to a full year of school and a full head of hair in the horizon, she waits patiently for the day she has enough hair to cut it off and donate it back to other children going through what she did.

Only months ago, Hope was pulling out her eyelashes – today she is very much living up to her name.

This is a story from Arnold Lim from riding in the Tour de Rock in 2013 and is riding again as an alumni rider in 2017. Follow the journey of the 24 riders cycling Vancouver Island with our INTERACTIVE MAP.

Just Posted

Parksville-area thieves target catalytic converters

RCMP: ‘We’re getting the same thing in terms of theft of gas’

Courtenay-Alberni Liberal candidate discusses Trudeau’s ‘brownface’ controversy

Gowans: ‘I would say it’s disappointing for sure. It was racist, as the Prime Minister admitted to’

RCMP: No timeline for update on fatal hit-and-run in Parksville

Complexity of case a factor in length of the investigation

Parksville wants consultant to examine feasibility of rec centre

Strong demand from residents for a multi-sport facility

Developers withdraw rezoning application for huge Parksville waterfront plan

IAG to create new draft after processing public feedback

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

Island contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Most Read