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Prince Rupert police officer to ride 800km to raise funds for kids’ cancer research

Die’ een is vir jou, Pappa, This one is for you, Dad - Const. Jacque Van Wyngaardt
Prince Rupert RCMP Const. Jacque Van Wyngaardt is riding in the 2023 Cops for Cancer Tour de North to honour the life of his dad, who recently died from the illness. He is riding from Prince George to Prince Rupert from Sept. 15 to 21 to raise funds for childhood cancer research. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Nothern View)

RCMP Const. Jacque Van Wyngaardt knows what the cancer ride is all about. He’s been navigating the course after recently losing his dad to the illness. Van Wyngaardt wants to give back to the community and raise funds for childhood cancer research by participating in the annual Cops for Cancer Tour de North.

“The ride itself is a fundraising event that raises money that goes toward pediatric cancer research, as well as support programs for children and families that are dealing with cancer in their families,” he said.

A large portion of the money raised goes toward Camp Good Times, he said. This is a summer camp for 600 children and their families who are experiencing the cancer journey.

“It’s basically a safe space for them all just to be kids and not worry about the disease that they’re struggling with.”

This year, the 800-kilometre tour route starts in Prince George on Sept. 15 and concludes in Prince Rupert on Sept. 21.

Van Wyngaardt is the only RCMP officer from Prince Rupert cycling in 2023. He will be accompanied by two firefighters from the local firehouse, Jordan Venditelli and Kaspar Green, in the midst of 10 other riders. The 13 cyclists are made up of six RCMP officers from across the north and seven other first responders.

He had already completed months’ worth of tenuous fitness and cycle training to ride in the 2022 tour. Disappointingly, just before the ride, Van Wyngaardt came down with COVID-19 and had to pull out to focus on his own health.

“I got to do all the work but not get the reward of riding at the end.”

He’s back training with a purpose and determination.

“I feel like my dad had a very long battle with cancer. There wasn’t really anything that I could do about it. I feel like participating in something like this, I kind of give back to people who also struggle with what my family has been struggling with. It’s just a good way of honouring his name. He’s the main impetus for me participating in this.”

And that name he wants to honour is Johan Van Wyngaardt.

“Die’ een is vir jou, Pappa,” he said in his native tongue of Afrikaans, which translates to “this one is for you, Dad.”

The police officer said the public will see him around preparing for the arduous trek as there will be lots of training. Bikes and helmets are provided by the Canadian Cancers Society for the endeavour.

“You’ll see me out on the road training doing the hills, getting the mileage. I’m not a cyclist, so this is all brand new to me and training is a big part of it. If you’re not going to be training, you can’t have fun on the ride itself,” he said.

Riders are expected to meet certain milestones, such as in June, they have to be able to cycle 80 kilometres, increasing to 120 km in August or September.

Total kilometres ridden is not the only goal riders need to meet. Fundraising is a big part of the Tour de North cyclist’s personal journey. So far, in just a couple of weeks since the riders were announced, Van Wyngaardt has raised just less than $800 of his $3,000 goal. He wants to thank Ray-Mont Logistics and Global Port Holdings for kickstarting his donation campaign.

To donate to the cancer ride people can visit Jacque’s Cops for Cancer, Tour de North donation page or visit the Canadian Cancer Society website to follow the links.

“The community is really, really good in support. Last year on my ride, so I would get the odd honk. People wave at me when they see me in my bright yellow training jersey. It’s been really good. And in the community, people who know that I’m riding would come up to me and say, Hey, this is awesome, this is a great cause and we support you. Overall, it’s a very, very positive response,” he said.

K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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