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Tour de Rock rider has special bond to Sooke

Karen Robinson is a Saanich police constable
Lily Lecinana, a 13-year-old Sooke resident and cancer survivor, has been named Janet Robinson honourary rider. (Submitted)

It took all of 30 minutes for Karen Robinson and her husband to decide to settle in Sooke.

“Geoff’s in the military and was transferred here, so we thought we’d look for a house in Sooke,” explained Robinson, a rider in this year’s Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock. “A half-hour of talking to people in the grocery store had that small-town feel, the kind of friendly, caring community we were looking for.”

That sense of a caring community has been further highlighted, underlined, and reinforced during the 10 years they’ve lived in Sooke.

“I’ve seen how the community pulls together to help families battling cancer,” said Robinson, a constable with Saanich Police for the past four years. “The support has been so amazing and touching. I want to do my part, which is why I joined the ride.”

Robinson grew up with a friend who had childhood cancer and saw how hard it can be on a child and how it impacts their life. Part of her motivation as well as her mother had cancer in 2005, and she found out while training for Tour de Rock that it’s come back.

Another major source of motivation for Robinson is her honourary rider, Lily Lecinana, a 13-year-old Sooke resident and cancer survivor.

“Lily’s such an amazing, strong person, a very brave soul,” she said. “When she spoke at my jersey presentation, I cried. It was so touching. Her determination and grit give me something to aspire to.”

Although Robinson said she became familiar with the Tour de Rock when she first moved to the Island, this is the first year she has been able to join the team.

“I haven’t been on a bike for 20 years, but the training has been doable,” she said. “They push you harder than I thought, but I surprised myself with what I could accomplish. The support from the trainers and the other riders makes this possible.”

Robinson, who started training for the Tour de Rock in February, had high praise for the Sooke Lions Clubs’ assistance with her fundraising initiatives that began in May.

Robinson said an event at the Sooke Legion on Aug. 28 raised more than $3,000, a testament to the community’s amazing support.

“I am a mother of two daughters, Holly, who’s nine, and Lorelai, who’s 11,” she said. “They have been helping me with all my fundraising events and are my biggest supporters.”

This year marks the 25th year since the Tour de Rock’s inception. It begins in Port Hardy on Sept. 24 and ends in Victoria two weeks later. The event has raised more than $25 million, with 20 per cent of proceeds for this year supporting Camp Goodtimes, and the balance earmarked for pediatric cancer research.

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Janet Robinson with honourary rider Lily Lecinana. The Tour de Rock begins on Sept. 24 in Port Hardy. (Submitted)