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.

Tour de Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People tab ‘Roaring ’20s’ as theme for Parksville sand sculpting competition

‘Topsy Turvy’ and ‘Celebrate!’ also considered for 2020 beach festival event

Businesses asked to join Parksville 75th Passport Program

City to hold birthday celebrations from June to August

Blues and jazz icons to play in Parksville

Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley at Ground Zero

Oceanside Generals secure top spot in VIJHL’s North Division

Hockey side will face Kerry Park in first round of playoffs

Ballenas Whalers clinch Island high school girls hoop championship

Parksville squad advances to AAA provincials in Langley

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

PHOTOS: RCMP call on kids to name latest police puppy recruits

This year’s theme is the letter ‘N,’ and 13 German shephards must be named

One dead in multi-vehicle collision involving logging truck on northern B.C. highway

DriveBC says highway expected to remain closed until 8 p.m.

B.C. teacher gets 15-year ban after lying about having sex with just-graduated student

Teacher had been dishonest with the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Most Read