More than 100 police officers and emergency services personnel from across the province will hit the road next week for the annual charity ride known as Cops for Cancer.
Over the course of September, those involved will cycle more than 1,000 kilometres as part of four separate tours to raise money for pediatric cancer services in B.C.
"It's like this big rolling billboard going throughout the coastal regions of B.C.," said Auxiliary Cst. David MacKenzie of the Whistler RCMP.
MacKenzie will be riding with Cops for Cancer's Tour de Coast from Sept. 17-25.
"I think we have one of the more enjoyable areas of the province so it's kinda neat," MacKenzie said.
"There's certainly some challenging hills, but the charity is certainly well worth it."
Along with the Tour de Coast, which tours the Greater Vancouver area, there's the Tour de North (Northern B.C.), Tour de Rock (Vancouver Island) and Tour de Valley (Fraser Valley).
Each officer involved with the tour has a personal page set up at www.copsforcancerbc.ca where supporters can donate.
"One of the things I really liked about this specific charity was it was raising funds for pediatric cancer research, and assistance to those B.C. families that are going through that with children," MacKenzie said.
"It certainly touches your heart when you cycle through these communities and meet some of the kids that are affected and actually hear their stories firsthand."
This is MacKenzie's second time riding with Cops for Cancer, having first ridden with the tour in 2012.
"I met several of those kids, and they tell you their story with how cancer affected them and how the research that's going on today has actually changed their life, to the point that some of them have gone into remission," he said.
"Some of them are now cancer free, so it's nice to be a part of a charity where you can actually see the dollars going to work."
For MacKenzie, the long hours on the bike serve as a reminder to not take his health for granted.
"Especially on a rainy day when you're biking uphill somewhere, I just sort of think about the people who are less fortunate than me, and going through health issues," he said.
"I'm like, wow, I have my health, I can do this, and help bring awareness of these childhood cancers, so it's easy to get through the day when you think about that."
The Tour de Coast visits communities along the Sea to Sky corridor as well as the Sunshine Coast, North Shore and cities in Greater Vancouver from Maple Ridge to Richmond.
While raising money for pediatric cancer is the main goal, it's also about awareness, MacKenzie said.
"It makes everybody stop, and they see this Cops for Cancer rolling billboard go by and hopefully it creates that awareness," he said.
"And hopefully they'll go to the website and maybe even make a donation."
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