West Shore RCMP Const. Jason Raycraft can’t wait for the start of this year’s Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock.
A fellow Mountie introduced Raycraft, an RCMP member for six years, while serving in Golden, B.C. to the two-week-long Tour de Rock.
Tour de Rock is a yearly cycling tour of Vancouver Island.
The team comprises first responders, including police, firefighters, ambulance paramedics, and guest riders from the news media. The riders undergo months of training to prepare for the 1,200-kilometre tour from Port Alice to Victoria. Their efforts raise funds for Canadian Cancer Society research and programs supporting families affected by childhood cancer.
The 26th annual Tour de Rock takes place from Sept. 23 to Oct. 6. Raycraft aims to raise $6,000 for pediatric cancer through his participation.
“My story with cancer is, and a big part of it commemorates, my Grandma Margaret, who sadly passed at age 49 while battling lung cancer. I think of her a lot and, most importantly, the new generation of children struggling with cancer,” Raycraft said.
“I want to give this everything I got and raise as much monies as possible for cancer research.”
Since its inception in 1997, Tour de Rock has raised an impressive $27 million, with an annual average of $1 million. The event aims to support children with cancer by sending them to Camp Goodtimes in Maple Ridge every July.
Raycraft, a Sooke resident, set his goal at $6,000 but expects to raise much more.
Anyone wanting to contribute and help Raycraft conquer his goal can do so on his personal Cops for Cancer page, sponsored through the Canadian Cancer Society.
Raycraft said that Tour de Rock is something he has always wanted to do and found inspiration in the experiences shared by his fellow officers and field coaches.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s for children too. How can you say no?” Raycraft said.
Raycraft has been matched with Marley Leahy, a 10-year-old Sooke girl who is an honorary member of the Tour de Rock, and has begun the rigorous training for the fall tour, with riders practising three days a week.
“I’m not finding it difficult yet,” said the avid cyclist and runner.
“The riders care so much and the camaraderie and team cohesion is by far more than I’ve ever experienced. We get tighter, week after week, as a group. The Tour de Rock has already exceeded my expectations.”