Editorial: Tour de Rock efforts vital to local families

Let's support the riders, students and community members working hard to help families battling childhood cancers

The 19th annual Tour de Rock cyclists put pedal to pavement Saturday as the 17-member team departs for a 1,100-kilometre, two-week bicycle journey down Vancouver Island. No recreational journey, the gruelling – but by all accounts rewarding – effort is all about raising money for pediatric cancer research and support programs.

South Island police officers from around the region, along with guest riders Mena Westhaver and Anne Carelli, leave Saturday morning for Port Alice, where they’ll join fellow riders. The public is encouraged to come out and cheer them on as they leave from Admirals Walk by Coast Capital Savings and Thrifty Foods at 7:30 a.m.

Cycling Sunday from Port Alice, near the northern tip of the Island, riders will weave their way down the Island, stopping at numerous towns and events along the way, inspiring the Island with their efforts and contributing to the more than $21 million the tour has raised for the Canadian Cancer Society since 1998. Money lets Island kids who are battling cancer attend Camp Goodtimes at no cost and supports vital pediatric cancer research and programs that help children with cancer and their families.

The tour wraps up in Victoria Friday, Oct. 7, including a stop at Oak Bay High Oct. 6, where students will announce the results from their ambitious C4C campaign.

The Oak Bay team has been busy with bottle drives and car washes already, but plenty more events are on offer, and residents are urged to support their efforts. The fun continues this weekend with a Saturday bottle drive and Sunday fun fair at Willows Park, along with a talent show Monday at the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre and a fashion and art show later in the week. Next weekend brings a community garage sale, with yet another opportunity for residents to help students do their part.

To have a child diagnosed with cancer is among the worst experiences a family will face.

Let’s support our teens who are working to help those families, and all the riders on this year’s Tour de Rock.

Learn more at www.tourderock.ca.