Four Delta police officers are joining other officers and law enforcement officials from around the province this month for the annual Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley.
The team will kick off the nine-day, 900-kilometre epic ride Thursday in Surrey and will tour through Ladner and Tsawwassen on Friday, making stops at several schools.
Cops for Cancer is an annual campaign that raises funds for the Canadian Cancer Society while also spreading awareness about cancer prevention. There are four separate rides throughout the province - Tour de Valley, Tour de Coast, Tour de Rock (Vancouver Island) and Tour de North (northern B.C.).
Tour de Valley takes riders from the Lower Mainland to Boston Bar and back over nine days from Sept. 27 to Oct. 5.
Along the way, the team stops to visit schools, business and community groups to spread the word about cancer and what Cops for Cancer does. The money raised goes to the Canadian Cancer Society specifically to pediatric cancer research and programs that support children living with cancer and their families.
Representing Delta police on this year's tour are: S/Sgt. Sharlene Brooks and constables Dave Ogilvy, Catherine Fiddick and Elaine Hughes.
Brooks and Hughes are first time riders, while Fiddick is returning for her second tour and Ogilvy has been involved with Cops for Cancer for several years.
In the weeks and months before the tour begins, the riders must not only focus on raising money for the cause but also get physically ready to spend nine days riding around the Fraser Valley.
"Training has been a challenge for sure," Brooks said.
"What has surprised me the most is the mental toughness you have to have to grit through challenges on a ride... one thing that has kept me focused and persevering - and I will be honest, there were days that were more difficult than others - was thinking of the kids I am riding for. They don't get to quit. They don't get a choice if they want that next needle or treatment, so when I feel like quitting, and some days I did feel that way, I kept pedaling because I couldn't quit on those kids and those supporting us in this endeavor."
Brooks said the Delta riders have received a tremendous amount of support from the community, raising about $47,000 at three events.
"I got into policing because I wanted to make a difference in the community and in the lives of people I come in contact with. This is a unique opportunity to do just that," she said.
Brooks has taken to social media to share some of her journey. She has been tweeting throughout the training and fundraising, and plans to continue tweeting while on tour. She can be followed on Twitter at @SgtSBrooks.