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Getting a head for cancer research

Prince Rupert Cops for Cancer want to flush away the illness with loads of donations for research
Getting a head at a Prince Rupert downtown crosswalk was Bob Killbery, retired RCMP officer and organizer of the Cops for Cancer Tour de North cycle ride which raises funds for pediatric cancer research. Killbery delivered the bright bog to Scotia Bank on July 13, 2020, where it will remain as the throne for cash and donations for one week. The lovely loo will be transported to a different location each week to raise cancer campaign awareness. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Cops for Cancer is wanting to flush out as many donations as possible from Prince Rupert residents in preparation for the annual Tour de North bicycle ride, which raises funds for pediatric cancer research. Locals are encouraged to drop their load of cash down the toilet.

Event organizer and retired RCMP Officer Bob Killbery delivered the brightly adorned porcelain potty to its first stop at the downtown Scotia Bank on June 13. The bright green and red facility will be available on-site for public use as a cash catchment to collect donations for one week before heading to another location.

“We want to flush away cancer and the toilet is a way to raise awareness and collect as much money as we can,” Killbery said.

Donations in general for cancer awareness and research, such Daffodil Days and Relay for Life, are down this year due to the pandemic, Killbery added.

READ MORE: Fighting crime and cancer in Prince Rupert

The Tour de North fundraiser is entering the 24th year of riders gearing up for the September road rally, which leads from Prince Rupert to Prince George. This year the tour will have a slightly different look and participation plan due to the COVID-19 restrictions and social protocols.

Killbery said up to 35 riders usually participate in the seven-day, 850 km bike ride down HWY 16 from start to finish. However, this year, with the need to consider sensitivity to proper distancing, the ride is formatted in a relay style between each municipality.

The local team of four cyclists from Prince Rupert will ride to Terrace in the first leg, the team from Terrace will complete the second leg, and so forth with the various community teams, right up to the finish line in Prince George.

“There is a logistical purpose to limiting the riders on each leg this year,” Killbery said.

With each cyclist contracting to raise between $3,000 to $6,000 in pledges, the demand with numerous participants can put a financial strain on a small community, Killbery explained.

Killbery, a thirteen-year retiree from the police force, has been cycling in the event alternate years for the past 10 years. The training for the Sept. 11 to 17 event requires a concentrated time investment, he said. The expectation is for each rider to practice 150 km to 200 km per week. The Prince Rupert Cops for Cancer team in 2020 is made up of emergency personnel Gwain Bonell, Stefanie Wainman, Taylor Reeve, and Killbery.

READ MORE: Heart of Our City – Riding for Bob

K-J Millar | Journalist
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