The Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock rolls into Port Alberni on Friday afternoon. (Canadian Cancer Society photo)
Nuu-chah-nulth nations will be hosting a fundraising event in support of the Canadian Cancer Society’s 20th annual Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock.
Since 1997 police officers and other interested community members have made the annual 1,000-kilometre ride from one end of Vancouver Island to the other, visiting 27 communities along the way to raise funds for pediatric cancer research and support programs for children with a history of cancer.
This year 24 riders left the north end of Vancouver Island on Sept. 23 and will arrive in the Alberni Valley on Friday, Sept. 29.
Local Nuu-chah-nulth nations have arranged a seafood dinner fundraiser organized by Matilda Atleo, NTC Community Health Development Worker.
Atleo says elected chiefs of both local First Nations will be there to officially welcome the riders to their traditional territories.
Everyone is welcome to attend the seafood dinner, which will feature fish, herring eggs & seaweed and other seafood delicacies along with home-baked desserts. The meal is by donation with all proceeds going to the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock.
There will be a live silent auction featuring donated First Nations prints and carvings along with prizes donated by local businesses.
Tseshaht First Nation is holding a raffle with two first prizes of 15 pounds of halibut. Second prize is a tablet and third prize is a $100 gift card.
The Cops for Cancer will also be selling their own raffle tickets with valuable prizes like Canucks game tickets.
There will be hair stylists available for those wishing to have their heads shaved (or hair cut) for donations.
Dr. Paul Hasselback, VIHA Medical Health Officer will give a talk about the prevalence of cancer among First Nations.
There will also be some cultural entertainment, including a fashion show by Nuu-chah-nulth designer Joyce Little as well as drumming and dancing.
Atleo says that while the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock focus mainly on childhood cancer, she feels strongly that people should come out and support the cause. The Nuu-chah-nulth communities have suffered many losses of loved ones in the past few years due to cancer.
She urges people who haven’t been feeling well, but know something is wrong to press the medical professionals for testing. Many cancers can be treated if caught early.
There are three local police officers riding this year. They are RCMP officers David Boyce and Beth O’Conner from Port Alberni and Marcel Midlane from the Ucluelet RCMP. All of the officers will be acknowledged at the fundraiser.
The doors of the Alberni Athletic Hall will open at 5 p.m. on Sept. 29 with the riders arriving at 5:25. Dinner, paid for by donation, will be served at 6 p.m.
The Tour de Rock will continue west to Tofino on Sept. 30. Atleo says they leave the Best Western Barclay Hotel at 8:30a.m. and she is hoping to see crowds along the route waving and cheering them on.