Cancer has touched the lives of millions of people around the world, and Kyle Ross is no exception.
He lost both his grandmothers when he was young, and most recently lost his uncle to the disease. So when Ross was approached to ride in this year’s Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock, the decision was a no-brainer.
“I was young when my grandmothers passed away and that was the first time I had ever lost a loved one. I remember that being pretty impactful. It was a hard time for our family,” said Ross, a constable with the West Shore RCMP.
“Cancer’s touched pretty much everyone I know, it’s definitely something that’s affected my family. It’s a horrible disease and I want to do anything and everything I can to help.”
Ross is one of 22 riders, including police officers, first responders, media members and guests, who are taking part the Tour de Rock ride from Port Alice to Victoria Sept. 22 to Oct. 5.
As part of the 21st annual event, participants will cycle more than 1,100 kilometres, stopping in more than 27 communities along the way to help raise funds for pediatric cancer research and Camp Goodtimes, a program for children, teens and their families who have been affected by cancer.
For the last several months, Ross and the team have been training three times a week, cycling throughout Greater Victoria, including to the Victoria observatory, Hartland landfill and Land’s End near the B.C. Ferries terminal, in preparation for the gruelling ride.
Ross, who is a recreational cyclist and used to ride his bike when he was attending university, said it’s been “great to see everybody get better.”
The longest ride they completed was when the team rode 140 kilometres to Jordan River and back.
While training can be physically demanding, Ross was reminded during a recent ride of why he was participating in the first place. When the team stopped at 49th Parallel Grocery Store in Chemainus, Laurie Douglas welcomed the riders and spoke on behalf of grocery store staff and volunteers, noting “we all have something in common, we all like to help kids and we all hate cancer.”
“That hit the nail on the head for me. That’s the truth. It’s truly horrible when it’s hitting our youth and taking away someone’s childhood,” Ross said.
“Hopefully we can work towards curing it at some point in the future.”
Since it started in 1998, the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock has raised more than $24 million towards pediatric cancer research and Camp Goodtimes. For more information about the ride visit tourderock.ca.