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VIDEO: Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley begins in Langley

More than 20 riders will spend 8 days riding 800-kilometres through Fraser Valley to raise $350,000

On Friday morning, Sept. 15, more than 20 riders on the Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley team began an eight-day, 800-kilometre journey through the Fraser Valley in Langley, where students at Langley Fine Arts cheered them on.

This is Mel Dick’s second year riding in the tour. Prior to participating, he volunteered with the ambulance for two years. Now, Dick works in emergency health services in Abbotsford.

“I love the idea that I can help people with cycling, and fundraising for kids with cancer is a really good fit with who I am,” Dick said.

Dick wears three strings of beads given by kids with cancer. He explained that kids receive a bead each time they have a test, IV, or other procedure in the hospital.

“Last year, one of the parents told us about her son’s experience with beads. She pointed to a place [about] 20 metres from her, and said his string of beads would have gone there and back because he has had so much done,” Dick shared.

He is also a colleague of Murrayville resident Alisha Openshaw, mother of twins Bennett and Weston. The young Langley boys were diagnosed with an identical type of cancer, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, within months of each other.

“It’s for the kids… it’s about supporting the kids, supporting research, and Camp Goodtimes,” Dick said.

During the school’s send off, Openshaw shared her thanks with the riding team.

“Over this past year, without a doubt the hardest year of my life, you guys have been so supportive. They reach out often, you guys are an amazing group of people, and thank you so much for supporting us through our cancer journey,” she said.

Ruth Nance, Tour de Valley specialist and “momager” of the team, said it was a tough year for preparations with staff shortages but thanks to the “awesome people” who came together everything worked out.

“There is a real sense of community this year, [and] this is what I hoped for. In the valley there are generations that have been here a long time. It’s neighbours and families helping each other, kids learn to take care of one another,” she said.

Nance added that it’s amazing to see people coming together to help out.

It’s the 26th year for the Fraser Valley Cops for Cancer ride, sponsored by Applewood Auto Group, which will wrap up in Surrey on Friday, Sept. 22.

This year’s fundraising goal is $350,000.

Cops for Cancer started in 1997 when Edmonton Staff Sgt. Gary Goulet convinced his fellow officers to shave their heads in support of a five-year-old boy who was being ridiculed at school for being bald due to chemotherapy.

It is one of several rides that bring together law enforcement and emergency services personnel to raise money for childhood cancer research and a national support system for families affected by childhood cancer.

It has become the largest national charitable funder of childhood cancer research, with an estimated $52 million raised so far.

Approximately 1,000 children in Canada 14 years old and younger are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 110 die from the disease.

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Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley started their 800-kilometre journey from Langley Fine Arts on Friday, Sept. 15. (Kyler Emerson/Langley Advance Times)
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Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley started their 800-kilometre journey from Langley Fine Arts on Friday, Sept. 15. (Kyler Emerson/Langley Advance Times)
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Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley started their 800-kilometre journey from Langley Fine Arts on Friday, Sept. 15. (Kyler Emerson/Langley Advance Times)
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Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley started their 800-kilometre journey from Langley Fine Arts on Friday, Sept. 15. (Kyler Emerson/Langley Advance Times)
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Mel Dick (centre) participated in his first Cops for Cancer ride with Tour de Valley last year. (Langley Advance Times files)
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Ruth Nance is a Tour de Valley specialist at the Canadian Cancer Society. (Kyler Emerson/Langley Advance Times)


Kyler Emerson

About the Author: Kyler Emerson

I'm honoured to focus my career in the growing community of Aldergrove and work with our many local organizations.
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