Barrie Burmaster of Parksville getting his head shaved by his wife Helen McNamara at the Tour de Rock beer and burger night at the Quality Resort Bayside on Thursday (Sept. 29).

Barrie Burmaster of Parksville getting his head shaved by his wife Helen McNamara at the Tour de Rock beer and burger night at the Quality Resort Bayside on Thursday (Sept. 29).

The Tour de Rock loved my son Jack: special guest rider

People got together on Thursday night in Parksville for the annual beer and burger fundraiser for Tour de Rock

Mena Westhaver said she has sixteen new best friends up and down the Island.

Westhaver, who lives in Parksville for a couple months out of the year with her family, is one of the special guest riders for the 2016 Tour de Rock.

Westhaver got up to speak at the beer and burger night at the Quality Resort Bayside on Thursday (Sept. 29).

Westhaver said her son Jack was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

She also said since then Tour de Rock and Camp Goodtimes has been a vital part of their lives.

“They gave my child something that no one else could give him,” Westhaver said. “They gave him an opportunity to go to camp even though he was, at times, near death. They gave us Camp Goodtimes three years in a row as a family where we could forget about cancer, forget about the needle pokes, forget about the lumbar punctures and just go and be kids and be together.”

Westhaver said at this point in time, she looks at her family’s cancer journey as a choice.

“You people all made the choice to be here. You made the choice to learn how to ride a bike, made the choice to put on spandex, you made the choice to come here tonight and collectively, we made the choice to help children — some of whom you’ll never know.”

She also said that her son, who is now 10 years old, didn’t have a choice to have cancer.

“As a parent, it would never have been something we chose for him to have endured. But I was determined to make the choice that we make the best of our experience and make it a positive one,” Westhaver said.

In 2009, Westhaver said Jack became a junior rider. The junior team is made up of Vancouver Island who have a history of cancer. Some of the kids are currently undergoing treatment, while others are in remission.

Westhaver said she can’t thank the Tour de Rock enough.

“You people are changing the world for kids you may never meet, but know you’ve made the most amazing choice ever. And there’s parents like me throughout the Island that want the opportunity to hug you,” she said.

Participating in the ride this year was a no brainer for Westhaver.

“When I was asked if I wanted the opportunity to ride the Tour de rock, absolutely I’ll ride the Tour de Rock,” Westhaver said. “Yeah, it might hurt, but it didn’t hurt and it’s not going to hurt like it hurt my son Jack. Cancer hurt my son Jack. The Tour de Rock loved my son Jack.”

 

Just Posted

Terry Mazzei next to a truck after it was struck by lightning, with him inside, on Wednesday afternoon, June 9. He walked away from the incident without injury and the truck sustained only mild damage; a blown front tire and newly broken gas gauge. (Wendy Mazzei photo)
Nanoose Bay man walks away unscathed after lightning strike

VIDEO: ‘We like to think that his dad was watching over him’

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

This young fledgling white raven was spotted in the Coombs area on May 16. (Mike Yip photo)
Expert says 2 sets of parents producing rare white ravens in mid-Island area

One of the iconic birds is currently recovering at wildlife centre after being rescued

Flowers planted along Highway 19 in downtown Parksville. (Submitted photo)
City of Parksville plants more than 15,000 annual bedding plants

Residents encouraged to take flower photos and post to social media

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read