Saturday, June 25, 2005

Well, it's finally happened. I'm starting to document by training for the upcoming Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast to happen this September. First, a little history.

While living and working on the Sunshine Coast, I was fortunate enough to experience a day a Camp Byng, which a few years ago was the site for Camp Goodtimes. Fellow officers were involved in the Cops for Cancer 'Tour for a Friend' ride, which saw them cycle about 600 km over a week to raise money for pediatric cancer research and to send kids with cancer to camp. I'll never forget that experience, kids in the throes of treatment, able to forget about medications and doctors and just have fun, playing soccer, having water balloon fights, and eating grilled cheese sandwiches.

I never got the opportunity to become more heavily involved in what in my view is the most prolific opportunity, cycling the tour.

As my time on the Sunshine Coast drew to a close and I realized the new chapter in my family's life would be a stop on Bowen Island, I started to check out everything I could about that island I passed so many times on the ferry without ever taking the time to visit.

As an avid golfer, I learned Bowen was in the midst of construction of a 9 hole public golf course and I contacted Bruce Russell, the president of the Bowen Island Golf Association and told him of an idea I had about hosting a charity golf tournament, the proceeds going to Cops for Cancer. I didn't have to do much convincing. Bruce was on board from the get go, an amazing sense of civic mindedness and willingness to help, especially when he hadn't met me yet!

Having arrived on Bowen Island in late July of 2004 I decided to let the community know about the cause by way of a photograph in the local paper, the Bowen Island Undercurrent. I advertised I would shave my head to raise money for the cause. The event was set for Bowfest at 12:30 near the lawn by Doc Morgan's Pub.

Well little did I know how much support for the cause I would see. Anybody wishing to pledge me to 'go bald' was encouraged to come by the station, or better yet, take in the 'live' event on the patio at Doc Morgan's Pub. Rondy and Dorothy Dike, the owners of the pub were gracious in allowing me to hold the event on their patio. Rondy added a touch of history and class to the event by supplying Doc Morgan's barber chair for me to sit in while my locks hit the ground.

At noon, with shears at the ready, Chris Buchanan, Bowen Island's dog groomer extraordinaire began his work.

By the end of the night, I was overwhelmed. Large individual donations in the hundreds of dollars, a cheque from the volunteer firemen for $500 and people handing over any and all of the cash they had in their pockets helped raise $3491.57. Overwhelmed when Bowen, with its roughly 3500 residents raised a buck per person for the charity.

I was not the only person taken with this great island community's spirit of giving. The Canadian Cancer society was equally impressed with the generosity and I'm certain it was a big reason I was invited to become a part of the Tour de Coast this year.

A perk of being involved with the Tour is having met my buddy, Victoria Fawkes. Victoria lives in North Vancouver, is 11 years old and a leukemia survivor. She is my inspiration for training for and completing the 600 kilometre Tour de Coast which will see 20 police officers from various cities and towns cycle from Whistler on September 24, to Horseshoe Bay, from Powell River, down the Sunshine Coast, over to Bowen, through West, then North Vancouver, and ending in Vancouver city on October 1.

As you read this, the Undercurrent has likely gone to press and reported a couple of upcoming events I'll be involved in.

Tomorrow, Sunday June 26, there is a public walkabout of the nearly completed Bowen Island golf course. I'll be donning my red Serge and starting off my fundraising 'drive' in earnest by driving a golfball ( hopefully ) down the fairway.

That's it for now, wish me luck for tomorrow.



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8:10 p.m.  

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