Tour de Rock rider Beth O’Connor, centre, is presented a cheque for $1,451 on behalf of Cops for Cancer by representatives from Thrifty Foods and the Canadian Forces military police in Nanoose Bay following their joint hot dog barbecue at the Parksville grocery store Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. — J.R. Rardon photo

Parksville barbecue cooks up cancer-fighting funds

Thrifty Foods, military police raise $2,500 for Tour de Rock

Riders in the 20th annual Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock made their usual stop at Parksville’s Thrifty Foods store upon arriving in the community Thursday, Sept. 28, and collected a cheque for $1,451.66 from a hot dog barbecue jointly hosted by Thrifty Foods and the military police at the Canadian Forces base in Nanoose Bay.

Combined with an earlier barbecue Thrifty’s hosted as part of the grocery chain’s ongoing 40th anniversary celebration, more than $2,500 was given to Cops for Cancer in total, said Bill Rutledge, store manager.

“It’s pretty amazing what they’ve done,” said Rutledge. “They’ve made such a difference in childhood cancer; it’s huge. I don’t even think half of us understand… I didn’t understand half of what their fundraising was about.”

Rider Beth O’Connor of Qualicum Beach, who works at the Port Alberni RCMP detachment, served as the local team host. She introduced each member of the team and presented Rutledge a plaque recognizing Thrifty’s ongoing support of the tour.

“It’s fantastic to be back in my own community, where I’ve done some fundraising and connected with folks, it’s a real adrenaline rush,” said O’Connor, who departed with the rest of the team from Port Alice on Sept. 24 to begin the two-week tour. “And the weather certainly doesn’t hurt.”

For the first time, a tour rider is making a second trip over the pedals. Arnold Lim, a multimedia journalist with Black Press, one of the tour’s sponsors, is riding again after first appearing in the 2013 tour.

“The rules are, you can only do this once,” said Lim. “Because this is the 20th year anniversary, they said alumni can re-apply. And somehow I was able to trick them into letting me back.”

The Tour de Rock team departed Parksville Friday, Sept. 29, and made stops at Arrowview Elementary and Kwalikum Secondary schools before going on to Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet. On Sunday, they returned to the east side of Vancouver Island and made their final stop in Parksville, joining in a community lunch at Boston Pizza before resuming the ride south.

The tour wraps up in Victoria on Oct. 6.

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