Tour de Rock remembered: Hope Kopeck

Tour de Rock rider Arnold Lim shares a story from his first ride in 2013 that became a powerful motivator to want to ride again, in 2017

Hope Kopeck remembers pulling out her eyelashes and making a wish.

After four months of chemotherapy, the six-year old was losing the hair on her head and her eyelashes were slowly falling out in turn as treatments for a mango-sized tumour wrapped around her aorta and spinal column grew inside her.

On this day however, she isn’t concerned with any of that, prancing around in a black-and-white dress and a fluffy pink tiara at Carmie’s Cafe in Cumberland where the Tour de Rock team enjoy dinner. Despite the dearth of hair on her head, she looks like any other six-year old girl – and today she is the star of the show.

High fives, loud fits of laughter and animated bouts of hide-and-go-seek are on the menu for the affable young Royston school first grader, fresh off a trip to Camp Goodtimes where she spent three days with her father in late July.

“She never wanted to leave. It is a memory that Hope will have forever,” her father Jason Kopeck said. “She wants to go back again next year and wants to go every year.”

While Hope weaves her way though the glut of tables, high fiving and laughing with people she has never met, her father, a carpenter in Royston, watches from across the room, remembering a time when her spirit’s weren’t so high.

“Losing her hair was terrible for her and terrible for me… It was so sad to watch (but) she dealt with it,” he said. “We offered to have a wig for her but she didn’t want (it). She was happy to be who she was. She handled it better than I did.”

Eight months after diagnosis, she continues to battle a disease that threatens to take more than just her hair. The tumour, now intertwined with the nerves and blood vessels in her chest, makes surgery risky and chemotherapy isn’t working. Doctors have turned to pills to ebb the growth inside her – but the future is still uncertain.

Hope, sporting a new set of eye lashes and a new tuft of hair, says she hates cancer, but soldiers on starting grade 1 this September despite missing all of kindergarten from her diagnosis in February on. Looking forward to a full year of school and a full head of hair in the horizon, she waits patiently for the day she has enough hair to cut it off and donate it back to other children going through what she did.

Only months ago, Hope was pulling out her eyelashes – today she is very much living up to her name.

This is a story from Arnold Lim from riding in the Tour de Rock in 2013 and is riding again as an alumni rider in 2017. Follow the journey of the 24 riders cycling Vancouver Island with our INTERACTIVE MAP.

Just Posted

Rock the Rink gives youth once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Winning band will get to play a set at Rock the Shores

Esquimalt council green-lights first mass-timber building on Vancouver Island

Mayor appreciates 12-storey structure’s proximity to naval base, graving dock and Seaspan

Greater Victoria School District adopts new dress code policy

Two years in the making, SD61 moves to more inclusionary guidelines

Fiery crash in Metchosin

Police still investigating the cause of the crash

Sooke makes call for regional fire dispatch

Some municipalities decide to take service off-Island

Parents call for change to health laws after Oak Bay teen’s death

Accidental overdose has Elliot Eurchuk’s parents seeking change to B.C Infants Act

B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report

Living wage varies between $16.51 in north central B.C. to $20.91 in Metro Vancouver

Amalgamation Yes hosting citizen’s assembly info meeting Wednesday at Vic High

Mayors of Victoria and Saanich will be on hand to give updates to residents

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of April 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

B.C. hockey team to retire Humboldt Bronco victim’s number

BCHL’s Surrey Eagles to retire Jaxon Joseph’s No. 10 in light of bus tragedy

Most Read