The Douthwaite family got involved with Tour de Rock after riders visited Chelsea’s school while she was battling leukemia several years ago. (Provided by Tour de Rock)

The Douthwaite family got involved with Tour de Rock after riders visited Chelsea’s school while she was battling leukemia several years ago. (Provided by Tour de Rock)

Tour de Rock turns community bubble relay race amid pandemic

Alumni will take on socially distanced leg of race in their hometowns

When the Tour De Rock made an emotional stop at Simon Douthwaite’s daughter’s school several years ago while dealing with her cancer diagnosis it sparked something inside of the father of two.

“It was this amazing feeling of real support. You could hear them coming in. Then they’re cycling in. It’s hard to put it into words adequately how I felt, in the middle of a crowd of kids and thinking, all these people are here for my little girl,” said Douthwaite.

READ ALSO: Victoria Grandmothers for Africa take on virtual ride across sub-Saharan Africa

Chelsea Douthwaite was two years old when she was diagnosed with leukemia. For the next three years, she would undergo chemotherapy and other treatments in an effort to fight the disease. Today, Chelsea is a thriving, spirited, healthy, and cancer-free, nine-year-old.

It was after the school visit that the Douthwaite family began supporting the cause, organizing fundraising events and eventually taking part in the Tour De Rock as a guest rider in 2019. Chelsea and her older sister Sophie are both proud members of the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock Honorary Team, representing the driving inspiration behind the race.

READ ALSO: PHOTOS: Oak Bay High raises more than $76,000 for Tour de Rock

Honorary team members are introduced and paired with riders, often building lasting friendships while they participate in events and fundraisers together, and ride along with the team for community stops and visiting schools.

With the onset of the pandemic, Vancouver Island’s largest community event was forced to shift gears. Now teams of Tour de Rock alumni will cycle on and relay the baton from Port Alice to Victoria.

This year, Douthwaite will ride for the cause once again, along with several other alumni, as they each take on a socially distanced leg of the race in their hometown communities bubbles. Under normal circumstances, a new group of first responders, guests and members of the media are selected to represent the team each year.

This year’s event takes place from Sept. 23 to Oct. 3. For more information visit tourderock.ca.


 

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