Abbotsford dad among Cops for Cancer riders

Les Betker is among 26 members of the Tour de Valley team raising funds for pediatric cancer research.

Const. Les Betker is among the police officers and emergency personnel riding in the Cops for Cancer event.

Const. Les Betker is among the police officers and emergency personnel riding in the Cops for Cancer event.

Les Betker had both an aunt and an uncle who died from cancer a few years ago, but the severity of the disease didn’t truly impact him until he witnessed kids who were suffering from it.

At the time, his second-born child, now four years old, was in BC Children’s Hospital being treated from nerve damage to her shoulder caused during her delivery.

“We saw a couple of kids in there battling cancer, and I just thought how horrible it would be to go through something like that,” Betker said.

In 2009, he decided to try to make a difference for kids like the ones he had seen in the hospital.

Betker, a police constable who lives in Abbotsford and works at the RCMP Pacific Region Training Centre in Chilliwack, joined the Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley.

The event brings together police officers and emergency personnel to travel a route, by bicycle, while raising funds for pediatric cancer research and programs.

This year, the 26-member team will traverse 900 km over nine days, making numerous stops at schools and community sites along the way. (See story below.)

This will be Betker’s fourth consecutive year as a member of the squad. The fundraising is an integral factor, but Betker – a father of four kids ranging in age from 18 months to five years – also enjoys connecting with the children the team visits along the way and serving as a role model.

“I do it because there is nothing like going into a school and seeing kids screaming and getting excited about what we’re doing,” he said.

Betker began preparing six months ago, with other team members, but he said no amount of training can mimic the full effects of riding 100 km a day for nine days straight.

“It takes quite a few days to recover after we’re done,” he said.

Betker hopes to continue his involvement with the Tour de Valley next year, but perhaps as an announcer in the schools, rather than as a rider.

So far, the Tour de Valley team has raised almost $160,000 for the cause. To support the event or for more information, visit and follow the “Tour de Valley” links.


The Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley makes a stop in Abbotsford next week as part of its nine-day 900 km journey to help fight childhood cancer.

The team of 26 police officers and emergency services personnel, accompanied by a full police escort, will make several stops at Abbotsford schools and community sites on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The tour, which began Thursday, Sept. 27 as one of four across the province, raises funds for pediatric cancer research and support programs for kids and their families.

The Fraser Valley portion begins in Surrey and travels as far north to Boston Bar before heading back south, finishing Oct. 5 in South Surrey and White Rock.

The Abbotsford visit includes a community dinner on Monday, Oct. 1 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 33868 Essendene Ave.

Tickets are $15 and include a baked salmon or curried chicken dinner, accompanied by dessert and entertainment. Tickets are available at the Eagles Club bar or by calling the club at 604-859-5405 or Desiree at 604-615-5638.

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the team visits Roberta Bondar elementary, the Abbotsford Police Department, St. John Brebeuf secondary and the Fraser Valley Auto Mall.

On Wednesday, Oct. 3, the squad visits Auguston, Sandy Hill and Ross Road elementaries; Chief Dan George middle school; and Rick Hansen Secondary.




Just Posted

The City of Abbotsford has prepared a draft Urban Forest Strategy that is now headed to public consulation.
Draft plan adopted for managing Abbotsford’s urban forests over next 25 years

Urban Forest Strategy now heads to public-consultation process

Country music star Chris Lane stops in Abbotsford next February. (Submitted)
Country music star Chris Lane coming to Abbotsford

Multi-platinum artist bringing ‘Fill Them Boots’ to Abbotsford Centre on Feb. 19, 2022

The Abbotsford International Airshow is back for 2021 with the ‘SkyDrive’ concept.
Abbotsford International Airshow returns for 2021 with ‘SkyDrive’

New format features a drive-in movie type experience, show set for Aug. 6 to 8

The intersection of Blueridge Drive and Blue Jay Street is one of three intersections in Abbotsford approved for traffic lights this year. (Google Street View)
Traffic signals approved at 3 Abbotsford intersections

Projects part of $1.45M in road upgrades around community

A young couple walks through the Othello Tunnels just outside of Hope. (Jessica Peters/Black Press)
Hope’s Othello Tunnels fully open to the public

Geological testing proved the area safe enough to open for the first time in more than a year

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

COVID-related trash is washing up on shorelines across the world, including Coldstream’s Kal Beach, as pictured in this May 2021 photograph. (Jennifer Smith - Black Press)
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read