Tour de Rock remembered: Hope Kopeck

Tour de Rock rider Arnold Lim shares a story from his first ride in 2013 that became a powerful motivator to want to ride again, in 2017

Hope Kopeck remembers pulling out her eyelashes and making a wish.

After four months of chemotherapy, the six-year old was losing the hair on her head and her eyelashes were slowly falling out in turn as treatments for a mango-sized tumour wrapped around her aorta and spinal column grew inside her.

On this day however, she isn’t concerned with any of that, prancing around in a black-and-white dress and a fluffy pink tiara at Carmie’s Cafe in Cumberland where the Tour de Rock team enjoy dinner. Despite the dearth of hair on her head, she looks like any other six-year old girl – and today she is the star of the show.

High fives, loud fits of laughter and animated bouts of hide-and-go-seek are on the menu for the affable young Royston school first grader, fresh off a trip to Camp Goodtimes where she spent three days with her father in late July.

“She never wanted to leave. It is a memory that Hope will have forever,” her father Jason Kopeck said. “She wants to go back again next year and wants to go every year.”

While Hope weaves her way though the glut of tables, high fiving and laughing with people she has never met, her father, a carpenter in Royston, watches from across the room, remembering a time when her spirit’s weren’t so high.

“Losing her hair was terrible for her and terrible for me… It was so sad to watch (but) she dealt with it,” he said. “We offered to have a wig for her but she didn’t want (it). She was happy to be who she was. She handled it better than I did.”

Eight months after diagnosis, she continues to battle a disease that threatens to take more than just her hair. The tumour, now intertwined with the nerves and blood vessels in her chest, makes surgery risky and chemotherapy isn’t working. Doctors have turned to pills to ebb the growth inside her – but the future is still uncertain.

Hope, sporting a new set of eye lashes and a new tuft of hair, says she hates cancer, but soldiers on starting grade 1 this September despite missing all of kindergarten from her diagnosis in February on. Looking forward to a full year of school and a full head of hair in the horizon, she waits patiently for the day she has enough hair to cut it off and donate it back to other children going through what she did.

Only months ago, Hope was pulling out her eyelashes – today she is very much living up to her name.

This is a story from Arnold Lim from riding in the Tour de Rock in 2013 and is riding again as an alumni rider in 2017. Follow the journey of the 24 riders cycling Vancouver Island with our INTERACTIVE MAP.

Just Posted

Victoria residents divided over changing school name due to its racist history

50 per cent of survey respondents favour changing name of George Jay Elementary

Judge’s decision set for January in dangerous driving trial for crash that left Saanich girl unresponsive

Tenessa Nikirk is charged with one count of dangerous driving after Leila Bui was struck in 2017

Oak Bay sees spike in thefts, drunk driving

Honda scooter, double-stroller, 2006 minivan and brass propellers all stolen

One woman arrested following early morning break-in at Colwood home

West Shore RCMP arrested a 23-year-old woman who was transported to hospital

Anti-money laundering agency warns casinos to watch gamers playing with bank drafts

Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, known as Fintrac, issues operational alert

Jurassic World 3 will film in Metro Vancouver under working title Arcadia

Filming is set to take place between Feb. 24 and March 6, 2020

Strata rental bans escape B.C. speculation tax through 2021, Carole James says

Vacant home tax won’t apply to cabins accessible only by water

WFP the Grinch who stole Christmas

It makes me really sad that you don’t understand the labour relations side of the business.

China hints at national security trials for 2 Canadians detained for one year

The two Canadians’ detention is largely seen as retaliation for the arrest of a Huawei exec

B.C. seaplane company set to test the first commercial electronic plane

The plane is powered by a 750 horsepower electric motor

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Most Read