By David Ding
Vancouver Island’s most famous fundraiser, Tour de Rock is back for its 25th anniversary with new goals for supporting cancer research.
During the past 25 years, the tour has raised more than $26 million. Currently, more than $180,000 has been donated to the 2022 tour, which means about 21 per cent of its goal $850,000.
This year there are 21 riders representing 15 agencies from Port Hardy to Victoria. Riders are now under the final intensive training for the tour which will start on Sept. 24.
“I wasn’t a cyclist before this training… but I’m almost ready to call myself a cyclist now,” said Trent Edwards, a rider representative from Saanich Police who retired in 2020.
Almost half of the cyclists are from police departments and the remainder are made up of firefighters and paramedics. Tour de Rock, the main fundraising outlet of Vancouver Island’s Cops for Cancer, is an event police across Vancouver Island look forward to as a high point of their careers.
“I used to work together with Martin Pepper, one of the founders of Tour de Rock in 1997. I’ve watched the growth of the tour,” Edwards said. “Now it’s time to keep my commitment to the tour.”
The goal of those involved is to raise funds for cancer research and improve treatment options, bringing hope to families across the province.
“This riding and my goal of fundraising is just a small step forward, but certainly it will bring something to success of the battle against cancer,” said Tiffany Parton, executive director of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police.
This year’s Tour de Rock has a special significance for Parton, as it is her fist time physically taking part in the tour as a rider after 15 years of professional fundraising. She used to work in Donald McDonald House in Vancouver to host the kids need treatment and their families, and organized three cycling tours in Canada Cancer Society before this year.
“When I am riding, I can feel that I am fighting in the battles of cancer with those kids and families together. This is totally different from my previous experience,” she said.
The tour will start in Port Alice and work its way through several Vancouver Island communities before finishing in Victoria on Oct. 7. Tour de Rock is always looking for volunteers and community members interested in organizing their own fundraising events.