POWELL RIVER, B.C. – An annual event is on the go.
The Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast is on now, with riders covering the Sunshine Coast and Lower Mainland in an effort to raise funds for cancer research.
The annual bike ride also helps send kids battling cancer to Camp Goodtimes.
The tour made a stop off in Powell River on Friday for the traditional spaghetti dinner. Powell River RCMP Constable Pete Gaiger is representing the region on the 2018 ride.
So far, he’s listed as the top fundraiser, collecting over $15,000 for the cause.
As part of the Friday event, Gaiger got his head shaved in Powell River, cheered on by supporters from the area.
“The riders are incredibly supportive of each other and the cause,” he said.
“I couldn’t pinpoint what the best point of the night (Friday) was. We all had fun during the whole night with the head shave, and of course the live auction.”
Riders will be on the road until Thursday, September 27th, wrapping up the tour in Vancouver. Throughout the journey, they have and will continue to experience all kinds of different weather conditions.
“It’s quite interesting when you’re out there and riding, you kind of hunker down, and you have the support of your crew. You take note of the rain occasionally, but it’s really secondary,” Gaiger said.
“The fact that you’re out there pushing and digging deep to power up the hills, your teammates are supporting you and you’re supporting them, you really don’t think of the elements that much.”
He told MyPowellRiverNow.com that he would definitely do the tour again if given the chance.
“It’s an amazing experience and I got the opportunity to meet some great kids along the way,” he said.
“These kids are full of life and are way stronger than any or all of the riders on the team put together. They’re real troopers, are super strong and have their heads exactly where it needs to be, and that is to keep up the good fight.”
Speaking about his motivation, Gaiger said thinking about the kids battling cancer certainly helps, knowing that he’s riding for a great cause.
Aakash Bains of the Ridge Meadows RCMP detachment is one of the mainlanders on the tour. He said he wanted to do “something selfless”.
“Most of the time we can be selfish in our daily lives, and I wanted to give back, not only for families and children who are suffering from cancer, but I felt that for myself, I wanted to do this to expand my boundaries and to be able to say I did this and did it for a good cause,” he said.
“At the end of the day, no family and no child should ever have to hear that they have cancer.”
Bains grew out a mustache over a year-long period as part of the experience, earning him the nickname “Kash the ‘Stache”.
For the cause, like Gaiger with his hair, he shed his legendary mustache.
“The best parts are when we roll up to schools,” Bains said.
“We get some of the loudest welcomes, with kids, teachers yelling, screaming, they’re proud to see us and we’re proud to see them. You honestly feel like a rock star and we’re doing it for a good cause. To see the community look at us when we come to these different cities, it’s nothing but applause, love and support.”
Bains said there is a lot of negativity seen around the world, so it’s very refreshing to see such positivity in the communities they have visited as part of the tour.
The 2018 Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast’s goal is to raise $525,000. As of this publication, the event has raised over $518,000.
For more details on the tour, visit tourdecoast.ca.