This year’s Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast riders, Sunshine Coast RCMP constables Darcy Dumais and Ben Stewart, hope to raise more than $40,000 for child cancer research in the next few weeks, and they think the Coast can make it happen.
“Our Red Serge Gala is the largest single fundraiser in all of the Lower Mainland,” Dumais said, noting the entire team of Tour de Coast riders have come to rely on the popular gala to help hit their combined fundraising goal each year.
Last year the Coast’s Red Serge Gala brought in more than $32,000.
Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast is a bike trek that takes 26 officers from the Coast and the Lower Mainland on a 900-km ride through towns and cities between Sept. 18 and 26. In order to take part, each rider must raise funds for pediatric cancer research, and officers take time to stop and visit area elementary schools to talk about their efforts during each leg of the ride.
Dumais and Stewart have been buddied up with local cancer survivor five-year-old Oscar Dorval, who is a fantastic reminder of what the officers are riding for.
Oscar was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney-based cancer called a Wilms’ tumour when he was just three. He had the tumour removed, and after much chemotherapy and radiation, he beat the cancer. Tragically it returned when he was four, which signalled more surgeries and treatments.
“Now he’s doing really well,” said Oscar’s mother Ange Cruikshank. “He had two scans in July, a CT and an MRI, and they both came back clear, so that was his six month remission — now we’re into September, which is seven, going on eight months.”
Oscar will continue to receive scans every three months to ensure the cancer doesn’t return, but for now his family is hopeful the worst is over.
Cruikshank will share Oscar’s story at the Red Serge Gala fundraiser planned for Sept. 12.
Tickets for that fundraiser went on sale for $65 each on Aug. 28 and they were sold out that day.
“That was just unbelievable,” Dumais said.
As a result about 40 more tickets were printed and are on sale now at the Sunshine Coast RCMP detachment in Sechelt.
The event offers amazing prizes like a diamond ring or 32 GB iPad and an array of fabulous auction items to bid on, as well as a delicious three-course meal and wine served by officers dressed in red serge.
Dumais and Stewart are sure the event will be a great success once again and they thank the community in advance for their “fantastic support” of the effort.
Both officers noted that every businessperson asked for donations for the gala was happy to help out.
While going from business to business looking for donations, Stewart thought up another way to raise some funds.
He and Dumais plan to set up a photo-op with themselves dressed in red serge and ask for donations at Canada Place where cruise ships stop with hundreds of tourists each week.
“It’s still in the works; we’re just waiting for all the approvals,” Dumais said.
The pair hopes to raise enough money to push their Tour de Coast team over the $180,000 goal they’ve set. At press time, the team was about $65,000 shy of that goal; however, donations will continue to come in from other riders in the coming weeks.
“I think if we could raise around $40,000 we could put them over the top,” Stewart noted.
If you would like to give to Dumais’ or Stewart’s cause, you can donate online at www.copsforcancer
bc.ca. Just click on “riders” and enter one of their names in the search engine.
Donations are also being accepted at the Sechelt detachment at 5800 Highway 101 (also known as Teredo Street).
Cancer is the leading cause of death in children, second only to injury, and funds raised through Cops for Cancer go to pediatric research and life-saving clinical trials.
Some funds are also used for the operation of Camp Goodtimes, an empowering summer recreation program at Loon Lake in Maple Ridge that provides a safe, supervised, fun week of activities for children with cancer and their families at no cost.