Each fall, the riders chosen to complete the gruelling task of riding most of the length of Vancouver Island in the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock help publicize the plight of childhood cancer patients in our areas.
The riders are treated like rock stars in most of the venues in which they stop, such as Belmont secondary and Happy Valley elementary where the Tour visited on the West Shore on Wednesday. But as the various riders and support team members have been quick to point out over the years, it is truly the young people battling cancer who are the real stars of the moment and deserve recognition for their struggles.
Some of these patients are young enough to not know life without the regular routine of chemo treatments and checkups either here or at B.C. Children’s Hospital. Others, whose diagnosis came a little later on, have seen their lives, and those of their family members, turned upside down by their battle against cancer.
While there is nothing nice or good about having cancer, the work of researchers and medical heath professionals on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland has helped write many success stories when it comes to local children and youth beating the various cancers that strike them.
Part of Tour de Rock riders’ annual pre-ride activities is a trip to Camp Goodtimes in Maple Ridge. Not only do they get a chance to visit with young patients currently undergoing treatment, along with their families, they experience the joy of meeting young cancer survivors, who attend the camp for years afterward as a way to say thanks and to support families going through their personal ordeals.
And as they travel the length of the Island, from Port Alice to Victoria, with over a dozen community stops in between, the riders meet people in various stages of their cancer journeys, as well hundreds of amazing individuals young and old, who support those families in ways big and small.
We salute all of them with a full heart.