Sunshine Coast RCMP constables Ben Stewart and Darcy Dumais were proud to pedal through Coast communities on Sept. 19, having raised more than $42,000 for paediatric cancer research with Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast.
The money was raised in a matter of weeks through the incredibly successful Ladies Red Serge Gala, which brought in about $41,000 this year, and a stint posing for photos with tourists by donation in Vancouver.
“We spent five hours in red serge taking pictures with people, and we were so well received,” Stewart said. “People were telling us they had been looking all over for Mounties and saying things like ‘you do exist.’ We raised over $1,000.”
Both officers were also overwhelmed at the support they received at the Sept. 12 Gala event, noting $41,000 is the largest donation to date generated by the annual fundraiser.
“The ladies who organize that are just amazing,” Dumais noted.
Cops for Cancer riders were challenged to raise as much as they could to take part in Tour de Coast- — a 900-km bike ride through Vancouver, Coquitlam, the Sunshine Coast, Powell River, Whistler, Pemberton, the North Shore, Burnaby, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ride and Richmond.
Riders hit the Coast on the second day of their journey (Sept. 19), stopping at Roberts Creek, Davis Bay and Madeira Park elementary schools, as well as the Sunshine Coast RCMP detachment in Sechelt.
“The kids have been really great coming out to meet us and cheering us on,” Dumais said, noting students were keenly interested in the Cops for Cancer effort.
Passersby also showed their interest by waving money at riders until someone stopped to collect their impromptu donation.
One driver pulled over to hand $20 to members of the support crew while Coast Reporter interviewed Dumais and Stewart outside the Sechelt detachment Sept. 19.
“That has been happening all over on the Coast and this is the only place we’ve seen that happen,” Dumais said, noting a $50 donation had come in about a half an hour earlier.
“People on the Coast are hugely generous.”
While the final total is still being tallied it’s safe to say Stewart and Dumais raised well over $42,000, which is enough to push the Tour de Coast team past their collective fundraising goal of $180,000.
That’s what Dumais and Stewart were hoping for, and they have the Coast community to credit for the achievement.
“We are so thankful for everyone’s support,” Stewart said.