When Cst. Ken Usipiuk of Delta Police Force came to meet me in my office the other day, I must confess I was a little taken aback. Part of that surprise can be attributed to Ken’s daunting physique, coupled with his shaved head, made him look pretty dominating so to speak. I guess these police guys need to look strong.
But when Ken told me the real reason for his visit, I was frankly touched. He was there to promote The Cops For Cancer Tour De Valley Campaign (From Sept 26 to Oct 4) that touches and improves the lives of so many cancer affected children in BC and elsewhere.
Prominent local Surrey sponsors of the event are Harpreet & Mandeep Nagra (Of Fraserview Meat Surrey), local businessman Amrik Sangha & Coast Capital Savings is the official sponsor.
Each fall more than 100 law enforcement and emergency services personnel from across the British Columbia brave all types of weather, committing hundreds of hours of their own time to cycle thousands of kilometres across the province.
Schools, organizations, businesses and ordinary people in over 60 BC communities show their support by organizing fundraising events and activities and pledging to raise thousands of dollars. Why? To show families who have a child with cancer that they do not have to face their journey alone.
With every kilometer they ride, across the daunting terrain of Vancouver Island, Northern BC, the coast of British Columbia and the Fraser Valley, these passionate and committed riders are raising funds and awareness for children living with cancer and their families.
The first Cops for Cancer program started in 1994 when an Edmonton police officer with a shaved head posed for a photograph with a young cancer patient.(That is why Ken too has shaved his head). The officer wanted to support the boy, who was being ridiculed at school because of his hair loss. Other officers joined and Cops for Cancer was launched.
Cops for Cancer campaigns have been running for over 15 years of here in BC. Since its inception on Vancouver Island in 1998, Cops for Cancer has expanded across the province into four incredibly successful tours which have raised over $27 million collectively to fund pediatric cancer programs and research.
“Tour de Valley is a 9-day, 800 km cycling Tour which travels across the Fraser Valley from Tsawwassen to Boston Bar and back. Being part of the Tour is much more than a bike ride. It’s a year of planning, organizing and participating in numerous events throughout the year and working with schools, community groups and the public to raise the much needed funds that help make a
Difference,” said Ken.
Over the years, Tour de Valley has raised over $4 million! In 2013, the Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley will take place from September 26 to October 4.
A special group of children who have cancer or have survived cancer are involved in Cops for Cancer as members of the honourary Junior Team. These courageous children and resilient survivors do not participate in the ride but attend events and tour stops to inspire the riders and public.
Cops for Cancer donations are used to deliver information and support programs that improve the lives of children with cancer, survivors and their families. These programs include:
•Camp Goodtimes—the Society’s acclaimed summer camp at Loon Lake in Maple Ridge, BC. Camp Goodtimes provides an engaging, entertaining and empowering experience for children with cancer, survivors and their families;
•Reliable comprehensive and up-to-date cancer information through Cancer Information Service (CIS); and
•Financial support for travel and accommodation.
In Canada, an estimated 850 children a year under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer. However, due to the successful treatment of most cancers, about 82% will survive at least five years past their diagnosis. The survival rates for some cancers are even higher.
•Cancer is the leading cause of death in children, second only to injury. Of the survivors, a significant portion will experience late effects of cancer and cancer treatment.
•Although childhood cancer is relatively rare, the impact of a cancer diagnosis on the life of a child and their family is world-shattering.
•About 130 cases a year will occur in BC and the Yukon. Of these, 24 children will not survive.
Coast Capital Savings is the official 2013 Cops for Cancer Tour sponsor for Tour de Rock, Coast and Valley.
For more information about Cops for Cancer tours, visit copsforcancerbc.ca.
There are many ways to get involved: volunteer at an event, make a donation to your local rider or host your own fundraising event.
Visit copsforcancerbc.ca to make a donation and find out more about Cops for Cancer.
Information: Gina Ungaro, Canadian Cancer Society, firstname.lastname@example.org 604.313.8097