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Tofino and Ucluelet raise $31,000 for Cancer

Tofino and Ucluelet residents raised over $31,000 through numerous community events for Cops for Cancer and the Tour de Rock.

The Tour de Rock made its way to the West Coast this weekend as part of their two-week cycling fundraiser.

Riders made it across Highway 4 from Port Alberni to Ucluelet on Saturday, covering 102 kilometres and hilly roads.

The 22 cyclists were welcomed by the communities who held local fundraising efforts for Cops for Cancer.

Ucluelet mayor Eric Russcher welcomed the riders on during the Cops for Cancer day hosted by the Ucluelet Co-op.

About $10,000 was raised by Ucluelet residents for the cause.

Later that evening, the RCMP hosted a Regimental Ball, raising $9,000 for Cops for Cancer.

On Sunday morning, the Tour de Rock riders made their way up the coast to Tofino.

Tofino residents raised over $12,700 through several community events.

Darren Forester, a volunteer for Canadian Cancer Society, thanked the community at the Tofino pancake breakfast held at the Legion Hall.

“It’s communities like yours that support the tour and make it happen,” said Forester, a former rider who has been involved with the society for ten years.

Since 2008, the tour has raised over $15 million for pediatric cancer research and children’s programs such as Camp Goodtimes.

“Research doesn’t only find a cure, but it also helps children survive cancer with less side effects. It helps them live a more full life after they survive,” said Forester.

Among this year’s riders is RCMP Cst. Rochelle Carr who once served in Tofino. She said her excitement to return to the West Coast is what helped her overcome every difficult hill.

“For me, it was the excitement of getting here that got me through the hills,” she said. “I had butterflies in my stomach I was so excited.”

But it wasn’t the shared feeling among other riders.

“A lot of people have said they think that was the hardest ride we’ve had so far on tour,” said Carr.

She said the training, which began in March, paid off during the weekend’s ride.

“I think that I was so excited to come that at every hill, it seemed like we were that much closer.”

Carr was stationed in Tofino between 2007 and 2010, but frequently returns to the area.

Her involvement with the tour goes back to her days prior to being an RCMP officer.

“I’ve always loved working with kids. Prior to the RCMP, I was working in day cares and I taught swimming and worked at summer camps,” she said.

“I’ve just always really liked working with kids and this cause directly benefits kids so I wanted to help out.”

Helping out required a big commitment, but Carr said it was all worth it.

Riders are halfway through their ride now, as they continue their tour to their final destination in Saanich on October 7.

“I think it will be bittersweet to finish,” Carr said. “I’m definitely going to miss the team and visiting the communities.”

By Yasmin Aboelsaud, Westerly News

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