Over the Labour Day long weekend, three Langley police officers joined dozens of other law enforcement in the 160 km Century Ride, in training for the upcoming Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley, which started Sept. 11.
It’s a mandatory ride for all law enforcement taking in this year’s gruelling Cops for Cancer tour from Tsawwassen to Boston Bar.
They will ride through Langley on Tuesday, Sept. 30.
Their first school in Langley is a memorial stop at Shortreed Elementary, where young Christopher Sperger once attended.
The Aldergrove boy was a junior member of the Cops for Cancer during his battle with the terrible disease. He died from cancer several years ago, but his mother Teresa meets the officers each year at his school.
“When children are going through cancer treatment, they are given their beads for each treatment or surgery they do.
“The riders will be given a bead at their memorial stop at Shortreed. It’s a very emotional moment,” said Langley RCMP Const. Craig van Herk, who is once again Cops for Cancer Tour organizer. He is part of the support crew who go along for the nine days.
But van Herk rode for many years before that, and had a personal connection with Sperger, keeping a picture of them together in his office at the detachment as a constant reminder of why he does what he does and why Cops for Cancer is so important.
The riders will make stops at four Langley schools and take time to speak to students about why they ride.
Reaching out to students is an important component of what they do and the strike left it all in limbo until very recently, said van Herk.
They also have a stop at Cedarbrook Bakery, a huge supporter of Cops For Cancer. Co-owner Mark Peterse has now joined the RCMP in Surrey.
Cedarbrook supplies all the lunches for the riders for each day.
Other supporters and stops include Coast Capital and Evolution Furniture, who have donated to the campaign.
“All Cops for Cancer riders take part in rigorous training —they need to learn how to pace themselves and ride in a peloton,” says Allan Mugford, Fraser Valley regional director for the Canadian Cancer Society.
“But what they can never prepare for is the emotional impact of seeing a child with cancer and the toll it takes on their entire family.”
The money they raise helps fund leading edge pediatric cancer research and caring support programs operated by the Society, like Camp Goodtimes.
All officers do their own fundraising, from barbecues to car washes.
Langley RCMP Const. Jason Ryan, Const. Aaron Kehler and Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement officer Randy Fullerton are part of this year’s ride.
Since 1997, Cops for Cancer in B.C. has raised more than $32 million allowing the Society to directly fund childhood cancer research and support programs.
To donate or to learn more go to: Copsforcancerbc.ca.