Cops for Cancer first started in Edmonton in 1994 and today hundreds of police forces across the country and other emergency personnel raise millions of dollars for childhood cancer research and support. (Canadian Cancer Society/Special to The News)

Cops for Cancer first started in Edmonton in 1994 and today hundreds of police forces across the country and other emergency personnel raise millions of dollars for childhood cancer research and support. (Canadian Cancer Society/Special to The News)

Cops for Cancer cyclists gearing up for local trek

Two Ridge Meadows Mounties participating in this year’s charity ride for kids living with cancer

Later this month, 39 law enforcement and emergency services personnel will cycle 500 km across the Lower Mainland, making multiple stops in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows on one of those days.

The trek takes the team through multiple communities between Sept. 20 and 24, including visits to Ridge Meadows RCMP, Thomas Haney Secondary, and Pitt Meadows Elementary on Tuesday, Sept. 21.

It’s part of Cops for Cancer, and it’s a bicycle journey that’s done each year in support of the Canadian Cancer Society while engaging communities en route in raising money for childhood cancer research and support services for families affected by cancer.

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With cancer being the leading cause of disease-related death in children under the age of 15 years, local law enforcement and emergency services personnel groups are once again partnering with the Canadian Cancer Society for the 22nd Cops for Cancer – at two Ridge Meadows RCMP are taking part in the local leg of the trip called the – Tour de Coast.

Funds raised through the tour will support groundbreaking research that is helping to save and improve the lives of children locally and right across the country, in addition to support services such as Camp Goodtimes, which helps children with cancer and their families enjoy summer recreation together.

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“I love to see each year how Cops for Cancer sends hundreds of children from across B.C. and Yukon to this wonderful place in the summer,” said Dayne Campbell, a Maple Ridge resident and RCMP officer who will be riding with Tour de Coast for the 13th time.

“As most of you are aware we aren’t just cycling for the pure enjoyment of it, but cycling in support of children who are experiencing a journey with cancer,” he said.

Campbell’s goal this year was to raise $4,000, and as of Friday he had already neared $5,750, money he’s thrilled will support both pediatric cancer research and the acclaimed Camp Goodtimes.

“This is not only a place where kids that are going through cancer get to be lakeside all the while getting their needed medical support, but also a place where kids can just be kids again and be away from a hospital for a while. I’ve seen firsthand how it has changed the lives of many kids over the years,” he said.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Tour de Coast will look different to previous years.

While there are at least a few local stops in town on Sept. 21, organizers clarify the team will not be going inside the schools or businesses, just outside visits – with speeches where appropriate – and lots of social distancing.

The health and well-being of the event participants, staff, volunteers, and the people they serve is the top priority and we must do everything we can to protect one another, those facing cancer and broader communities, said CCS spokesperson Brooke Sherwood.

“The spirit of Cops for Cancer is needed more than ever: cancer hasn’t taken a backseat during the global pandemic, and one child with cancer is one too many,” she said.

More than 84 per cent of children diagnosed with cancer will survive at least five years past diagnosis, compared with 71 per cent in the 1980s.

This progress, in part, is thanks to the advancements in cancer research funded by the Canadian Cancer Society.

“Yet more work needs to be done. Two out of 3 childhood cancer survivors suffer long-term side effects from their treatment,” Sherwood explained.

“Now more than ever, we need your support because together, we are a force-for-life in the face of cancer. Help pedal the way to end childhood cancer! To learn more, pledge a rider or make a donation please visit copsforcancer.ca.”

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