The Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley rolled into Langley on Tuesday, making a special stop halfway through their nine-day bike ride.
The 21 riders – all law enforcement officers from the Lower Mainland – are raising money to fight cancer, particularly pediatric cancer.
Their first stop on Tuesday was at Shortreed Elementary, where six-year-old cancer survivor Carson Post gave them memorial beads.
The metal beads, each marked with a C, are for Christopher Sperger, a Shortreed student who died of cancer in 2007.
Sperger, like Post, was a junior team member, taken along to Tour de Valley events and stops.
Delta PD’s Dave Ogilvy told the students at Shortreed about what the riders’ beads stand for – one for each day on the ride, a blue bead for a rainy day, black beads for falling off their bikes.
Young cancer patients in B.C. can enter a bead program, Ogilvy explained. They get beads for chemotherapy and radiation treatments, nights spent in the hospital, and having blood drawn, among other things.
The beads help remind the riders that they can’t stop and give up just because they’re tired. The kids they’re riding for can’t stop.
Among the riders this year are Langley’s Mark Peterse. This is Peterse’s second brush with the ride.
As an Auxiliary RCMP officer with the Langley detachment in 2013, Peterse was set to go on the ride that year. Instead, he got a call that he had been accepted to training as a full-time Mountie.
Peterse is now a constable with the Surrey RCMP and is back with the ride, this time as a fully-fledged officer.
“When I am struggling with those early mornings or pushing up a big hill on the bike, I remember the kids undergoing chemo and radiation who don’t complain,” said Peterse.
The riders have already been through some rain, including a deluge on Saturday, and are now looking forward to some more nice weather as they ride through Langley, Surrey, and Delta over the next few days.
The longest day of riding was Sunday, when they rode from Hope to Boston Bar and back, about 140 kilometers through the Fraser Canyon.
“It’s such an amazing community,” said volunteer and past rider Karen Cryer, of the Langley RCMP. Boston Bar is a small town where almost everyone comes out to greet the riders every year.
Assistant captain Les Betker of the RCMP said the team is doing well.
“It has been fantastic,” Betker said. “They’re a very athletic group.”
The team has already raised about $250,000 and continues to collect donations as they go to schools and businesses around the Lower Mainland. Funds go to the Canadian Cancer Society, and are earmarked for pediatric cancer research and for Camp Goodtimes, the campsite in Maple Ridge for kids in treatment and recovery. It is the only camp of its kind in B.C., with nurses and doctors on hand so kids still fighting cancer can go to camp for a week.