This September, cops and emergency services personnel plan to cover the 850-kilometre stretch between Prince George and Prince Rupert — by bike.
No, they’re not on patrol. From Sept. 14 to 20, instead of fighting crime, they’ll be fighting cancer by taking part in the 17th Tour de North.
From Prince Rupert, Bob Killbery, Corporal Devon Gerrits and Constable Stefanie Wainman will join the force, raising money for pediatric cancer research and funds for Camp Goodtimes in the summer.
“They can be normal kids, and they get all the medical support. Their families can go with them,” Killbery said.
From all four rides across B.C., Tour de North typically raises $2.2 million annually. Until they mount their bikes at the starting line, the Rupert riders have another fundraiser to keep the giving going.
Killbery, who retired from the RCMP last year, started riding four years ago. He’s the brains — and artist — behind Toy O’Lette, the toilette they’re using to Flush Away Cancer.
“We’re trying to put the fun back into fundraising,” Killbery said. “For a donation of $20, I would be happy to deliver it to the house or business of your choice and leave it there.”
Then, the hope is that whoever’s doorstep the colourful toilet sits on will pay to move it to the next location of their choice. To buy “immunity” to guarantee the toilet doesn’t visit you, a donation of $50 is accepted.
The toilet was donated new from Home Hardware and then was painted by Killbery in the Tour de North colours.
“We thought we’d make it look distinctive. We don’t want someone throwing it out if they see it in their driveway.”
The Tour de North initiative, Killbery said, really sees results. The five-year survival rate for children with cancer has increased, as have the funds the ride raises.
It will be Gerrits’s first year in Tour de North.
“I’ve had friends who their children had cancer at a young age. Last year, my father was diagnosed with cancer. You never think it hits home until it actually does. This opportunity came up and I wanted to give back to the community, and give back to the fight against cancer,” Gerrits said.
“It’s a big distance to cover across the north, but we don’t endure half the pain of what the people suffering from cancer have.”
People interested in a toilet delivery can call three numbers: Killbery at 250-624-8565, Gerrits at 250-600-0313 or Wainman at 250-600-1242.