Eighteen Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock riders breezed into Nanaimo Monday, their high-tech bikes pointed at Diana Krall Plaza and more fundraising efforts.
Greeted by dozens of family and supporters, the stop marked the ninth day of the 14-day, 1,000-kilometre tour that is raising money along the way to help fight childhood cancer.
While the riders replenished their calories with catered food, told their stories on the stage and participated in traditional head-shaving, onlookers snapped away with their cameras and a dance troupe displayed their moves beneath the square’s giant television screen.
But despite the festive atmosphere, the sombre baseline for Monday’s event – and the tour itself – is a nod to those who have fought cancer and won, those who are still fighting, and, of course, those who lost their battle.
The latter point was driven home to all who attended when Sophie, 9, and Emily, 12, daughters of Nanaimo RCMP Cpl. Ian Philip who died last year after his fight with cancer, took the stage.
Prompted by MC Bruce Williams, the girls, along with friends Jaiden Gray and Brody Gray, told the audience how they raised $5,331.81, more than their goal of $5,000, to contribute to the tour.
With many audience members and riders wiping away tears, the children reminded the riders how important their efforts are.
Shortly after, all 18 riders waved goodbye, hopped back on their Trek road bikes and continued the tour, which is scheduled to come to a conclusion Oct. 9 at Victoria’s Spirit Square.
For more information on the Tour de Rock, please visit www.bclocalnews.com/tour-de-rock for updates, profiles and stories from across the Island.