Hot diggity dog — RCMP and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers cooked up more than $1,700 for the Tour de North, Cops for Cancer by serving barbequed hotdogs and pop on August 15 to generate community fundraising support and awareness of the event.
Four cyclists forming the team Prince Rupert Rain Riders will navigate the road route from September 14 to 20. Officers from the RCMP, Const. Nathan Hokozano and Jacque van Wyngaardt, alongside CBSA officers Kelsey Sonnel and Glen Kirkland, will support the childhood cancer research endeavour by pedalling the more than 850-kilometre route starting in Dawson Creek. The cyclists will ride through Fort St. John, Husdon Hope, Chetwynd, Powder King, Mackenzie, Burns lake, Prince George, Hixon, Quesnel, McLeese Lake to their final destination Williams Lake.
Cops for Cancer is an annual event where law enforcement and emergency service personnel team up for bike riding to raise money for cancer research and support services at the Canadian Cancer Society. In 2022, the four North Coast riders will cycle in one of four Cops for Cancer tours held across the country.
Sonnel said she has always been inspired to be engaged in fundraising for various childhood charities since she was a child and competed in swim-a-thons.
The CBA officer has invested more than 17 hours a week since April, training for the Tour de North with a combination of 12 hours biking and five working out at the gym.
“I’ve never bicycled before — not on a road bike. This is my first time,” she said. “It was pretty full on this past weekend. So Saturday and Sunday, I biked 210 km, including a 140 km ride.”
RCMP office Hokozano said he is not a natural endurance athlete and has never completed a tour like this before. He said each rider has milestones to reach in preparation for the trek.
“So there’s a variety of goals. It’s progressive. We started in the spring. Our goal by the tour time is to be able to regularly [cycle] 100 km ride at an average of 25 km an hour … then there are different benchmarks.”
Fundraising is also part of the riders’ progression, with the hotdog barbeque at Safeway a team effort to support each other and the cause.
“So this event is just to raise funds for all of us, toward our goal of each rider raising [their] of $3,000 by the time we go on the tour. All the money goes to the Canadian Cancer Society for the kid’s cancer research and sports programs,” Hokozano said, adding one of the major programs it supports is Camp Goodtimes, a summer camp specifically for kids with cancer.
“It’s a summer camp specifically designed with extra supports in place for cancer patients so kids … can get that summer camp experience they otherwise wouldn’t be able to … because they have special needs due to their health conditions or whatever stage of treatment they’re in.,” he said.
Sonnel has surpassed her goal and is working toward raising more.
“I’ve already raised $3,500. I raised that in five days. So, I’ve kind of just been hanging out helping everyone else fundraise,” she said at the team barbeque fundraiser.
Donations to support the local riders can be made at the Cops for Cancer website or https://support.cancer.ca/site/ or to support an individual rider, click on their names.
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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