Like so many of us, this year's Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast riders have personal reasons for wanting to eliminate cancer.
Sunshine Coast RCMP Const. Jennifer Balfour's paternal grandmother died from breast cancer. And her riding partner, Const. Corinne MacPherson, lost a grandfather to cancer before she had a chance to know him.
But most of all, the two are riding for their little buddy, Abbie Evans of Madeira Park. The nine-year-old is in a fight with cancer at B.C. Children's Hospital. The young girl faces four months of chemotherapy and possibly a bone-marrow transplant.
Both women are relative newcomers to the Coast. Balfour has been here just under a year and MacPherson for a year and a half. This is the first RCMP posting for the pair. Balfour is originally from Ottawa and MacPherson hails from Newmarket near Toronto. Both are happy to be on the Coast. They joke that their experiences at the training depot in Regina were eye opening.
"They have rabbits the size of golden retrievers there," Balfour said.
Neither woman is a biker. They laughed that the first trip resulted in both of them meeting the pavement bodily. MacPherson pointed out several road rash spots from her travels. She said falling over was like watching a tree being felled.
"You go over sideways and it feels like slow motion, but you can't catch yourself," she shared.
They're both happy to be part of a group that includes other law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency personnel from the Lower Mainland.
"It's a great opportunity to meet other police officers. Even though we're part of the Lower Mainland we're kind of secluded here," MacPherson said.
Each Cops for Cancer rider must fundraise $6,000. If past years are any indications, that sum will be realized and much more. Last year's Red Ladies Red Serge Gala raised over $35,000, a sum the riders hope to repeat. In response to concerns by attendees, the women's gala is back at the Sechelt Seniors Centre this year on Sept. 16 and a caterer has been hired with filet mignon the featured food star. Tickets are $60 and available at the Sechelt detachment.
Another fundraiser that's open to everyone is a salmon dinner sponsored by the Rotary Club of the Sunshine Coast and Grieg Seafood. The event takes place on Sept. 23 at the Sechelt Seniors Centre at 6 p.m. Admission is by donation ($10 per person recommended) but tickets are necessary for the event to ensure adequate food. Tickets are available at Wren's Logos, Scotiabank, Coast Reporter, Stephanson's Bulk Fuels and Prime Rentals.
The Rainbow Room salon is donating all their hair cut earnings on Sept. 11 to Cops for Cancer. The snips are by donation with minimum donations accepted of $10 for children's cuts, $15 for men's cuts and $20 for women's cuts.
And don't forget to come cheer on these intrepid women as they do their part to conquer cancer. The Tour is on the Coast Sept. 22 and 23.