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Local cops ride 800 km for cancer
When Abbotsford police Cst. Trevor Sales' daughter spent a week at B.C. Children's for kidney treatment, he got a taste of what it's like to spend day after night after day in the hospital with a sick child.
That hit home how hard it is for some families who spend months at the hospital with a child with cancer.
"I just can't imagine families, that this is their life," said Sales.
Sales is part of a team of 25 law enforcement and emergency services personnel from the Lower Mainland who are embarking on an 800-km loop of the Fraser Valley to fundraise for the Canadian Cancer Society.
The annual Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley starts this Thursday, and will take riders nine days to complete. Riders will hit Langley, White Rock, Chilliwack, Hope, Boston Bar, Mission, Maple Ridge, Tsawwassen, North Delta, and Surrey, before finally finishing in Abbotsford on Oct. 4, 2013.
This is Sales' third year on the ride. He is one of four local law enforcement agents taking part, the others being Det. Craig Burridge, Cst. Daryl Young, and Jon Pothier of the B.C. Sheriff Service.
"I feel like it's a privilege for us to be able to do this," said Sales.
Along the way, officers stop at schools and community sites to speak to the next generation about limiting the risk of developing cancer, such as wearing sunscreen, not smoking, and exercising.
Said Det. Burridge: "I'm hoping that at the end of the day, I want to be able to send a message to kids about what cancer is all about and how we can prevent it."
The riders will also be wearing different coloured beads during the trip. At BC Children's, young cancer patients collect beads for every milestone in their treatments.
In solidarity, the officers will have different beads as well, but for events like a bike crash, or a rainy day.
The officers are paying homage to what children with cancer have to go through, Sales explained. The beads are also a way to tie the officers to the kids.
"A pretty tough part of the tour is that you see kids with necklaces as long as they are. That's lots of treatments. Lots of very uncomfortable days," said Sales.
Every one of the 25 riders has committed to raising at least $5,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society, which provides a wealth of services and information about the disease. CCS also supports Camp Goodtimes, a unique summer camp for children with cancer and their families.
Burridge has already surpassed his goal of $5,000, while Sales is nearing his personal goal of $6,000. Both thank the generosity in the Abby community.
"I have been uber impressed with the citizens of Abbotsford. It's been awesome for people to step and offer their support," said Burridge.
Sales takes pride in helping fundraise for a worthy cause. But he also values reinforcing a more service-oriented image of the local police force among the next generation.
"When police show up, more than likely it's a bad day. This is a way for the general public to see the police in a positive manner."
The result, Sales believes, is a more peaceful email@example.com twitter.com/alinakonevski