- BC Games
North Shore cops cycling 900 km for charity this week
Three North Shore police officers are putting their pedals to the metal this week as they bike 900 kilometres in nine days to raise money for pediatric cancer programs and research.
The trio are riding alongside hundreds of law enforcement officers and paramedics participating in the 2013 Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast. Wearing matching jerseys, they are cycling en masse through the Sea to Sky corridor, Sunshine Coast, North Shore and Greater Vancouver from now until Sept. 26.
It’s a poignant journey for West Vancouver Police Department Const. Nicole Hartwig, whose mom was diagnosed with cancer mere weeks after she was accepted into the Cops for Cancer program.
The rookie police officer was with her fiancé on vacation in Hawaii when she got the fateful call from her family. “Mom’s sick” were the first words spoken by her brother on the other end of the line.
Since February, Hartwig’s mom has endured six chemotherapy sessions to treat her B-cell lymphoma — a blood cancer of the lymph glands. But today, Hartwig has some happy news to share about her mom’s healing journey: “As of a couple weeks ago she was put into remission.”
Her family’s brush with serious illness has spurred them into action to help raise money for the Cops for Cancer campaign.
“Every time someone comes into my mom’s house she makes them hand over a toonie or they are not allowed inside,” laughs Hartwig, whose family alone has donated $7,800 to her Cops for Cancer personal fundraising page.
She was the first Tour de Coast rider to raise $7,000 — and is well on her way to reaching her goal of collecting $10,000 for cancer research.
“When you have something you truly believe in, there are a lot of people willing to help. You just have to ask,” says Hartwig of the outpouring of financial contributions she has received.
Hartwig, along with fellow WVPD Const. Griffin Gillan, recently received a cheque for $5473.05 from Fresh St. Market in Ambleside.
Gillian, a second-year participant, signed up for the charity bike ride after watching the Cops the Cancer cavalcade roll past him every year.
He knows the uphill challenges that are in store, after getting a taste of the terrain last September.
“I remember the hill coming out of Lund, that was one of the memorable hills,” he says.
The camaraderie amongst the riders is evident: if someone is struggling to make it up a hill, another rider will come along and place a hand on their back to help propel them to the top, recalls Gillian.
Like Hartwig, North Vancouver RCMP Const. Marie-Eve Beaupre family has also been affected by cancer. Her aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer a decade ago.
Beaupre’s motivation for participating in Tour de Coast is two-fold: to stay in shape and to give back to the community.
The Quebec City native had no idea what to expect when she moved to North Vancouver four years ago.
“I didn’t know anything about B.C., except that it was in the west of Canada,” says Beaupre.
Since exploring the North Shore’s myriad trails, including the ones in the Seymour Demonstration Forest, she’s become hooked on biking.
Still, the tales she’s heard from seasoned Cops for Cancer riders make Beaupre a little nervous.
“There’s a lot of hills that people barely make it up because it’s so steep,” she says. “The people cheering you on, that’s what motivates you.”
Beaupre raised $900 through donations from the RCMP Musical Ride when it made a stop at Mahon Park on Aug. 21. In total, $10,839.63 was raised for the Cops for Cancer campaign from that single event in North Van.
“The North Vancouver RCMP Detachment would like to thank everyone who came out to help make this a successful day,” said North Vancouver RCMP Supt. Chris Kennedy in a press release.
Cops for Cancer was initiated in 1994 when an Edmonton police officer posed for a photo with a young cancer patient who was being teased at school because of his hair loss.
The program launched in B.C. four years later and has since raised over $25 million for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Each of the three North Shore police officers participating in Tour de Coast has an online donation page at copsforcancerbc.ca.