SHAWNIGAN LAKE — In front of a cheering, jam-packed crowd at Shawnigan Lake School on May 6, 14 Vancouver Island police officers, one radio personality and two guest riders were named to the 2016 Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team.
This 17-member team will cycle the length of Vancouver Island from September 24 to October 7, raising money for pediatric cancer research and support programs.
This year’s team includes riders from almost every part of the Island. The team members all received their Coast Capital Savings training jerseys and their Trek bikes during the announcement.
“It’s such an honour to get to put on this Tour de Rock jersey for the first time,” said Todd Mason from Victoria Police Department. “It’s so much more than just a cycling jersey; it represents all the communities and supporters from Vancouver Island working together to help kids with cancer — it is overwhelming.”
There are two guest riders this year, Mena Westhaver and Anne Carrelli. Mena is Jack’s mom, a young junior team member who was diagnosed with cancer when he was three weeks shy of his sixth birthday. Jack endured three-and-a-half years of treatment for his leukemia.
“It warms my heart to see the dedication, personal sacrifices of everyone involved in the ride and the authenticity of the people who embrace the need to support children during a cancer protocol,” said Westhaver. “I look forward to the opportunity as a rider to support others that feel there is no hope, who are frightened like I was when I learned my child had cancer in his body, and to ultimately raise awareness and funds that will see the end of cancer.”
By Jack’s side during his treatments was oncology nurse Anne Carrelli. Anne works at the pediatric oncology outpatient unit at Victoria General Hospital.
“These children are strong, brave, and resilient and a daily inspiration to me,” said Carrelli. “I strive to champion their needs through the health system and we work closely with our oncology team at (B.C. Children’s Hospital).”
Since 1988 the Tour de Rock has been creating community solidarity with children who have cancer. The work of Island communities and schools during the Tour de Rock allows children on Vancouver Island to attend Camp Goodtimes — a summer camp for kids with a history of cancer.
— Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division
2016 Tour de Rock team
• Curtis Mitchell CFB Comox
• Trevor Mack Comox Valley RCMP
• Mena Westhaver Guest Rider
• Anne Carrelli Guest Rider
• Daryl Major Island Radio – The Wave – Nanaimo
• Andree Noye MPU Esquimalt
• Donovan Tait Nanaimo RCMP
• Felix Charette-Thibault North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP
• Jaleesa Nardino North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP
• Brady Mathison Port Alberni RCMP
• Brent Shemilt Port McNeill RCMP
• Janis Carmena Saanich Police
• Joanne Bickford Saanich Police (from Brentwood Bay)
• Gaylene Thorogood Tofino RCMP
• Todd Mason Victoria PD
• Cam Stephen Victoria PD
• Elyse Patten West Shore RCMP