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Cops for Cancer riders complete emotional journey

Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley 2011 ended just as it began - in the rain but with high spirits.

Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley 2011 ended just as it began - in the rain but with high spirits.

After nine days on the road, more than 800 kilometres logged and almost 40 school visits, the epic ride came to an end at the Canadian Cancer Society office in Langley Friday afternoon.

The team toured the Fraser Valley with two simple goals - to raise money to help fight pediatric cancers and to help educate the region's youngsters about how to prevent the disease.

As a team we raised more than $150,000 for research and programs to benefit young cancer patients and, hopefully, helped the next generation make the right decisions - wearing sunscreen and a hat, eating healthy foods, staying away from tobacco and exercising regularly - to prevent getting the disease in the future.

While the riders came together for different reasons, in the end we had common goals: to help bring an end to pediatric cancers, or at least make those suffering from the disease more comfortable, to honour those little ones who have lost the battle and to brighten the days of those still fighting.

Delta police constables Catherine Fiddick, Shane McLaughlin and Dave Ogilvy, and reserve constable Carlye Towne, all took part in the ride.

We met some remarkable young people who, in the face of this terrible disease, seem determined to still enjoy life to the fullest. We also met the siblings and parents of many of those who have lost their battle. Their willingness to share their stories with a group of mostly strangers inspired the team and helped push us through the tougher moments on the road. Aching knees, burning muscles and lungs are nothing compared to what these children and families have had to go through. Our pains were temporary, easily remedied and truly seem trivial. The ache of losing a child never ends, you simply learn to deal with it; the pain and discomfort of cancer treatment can seem endless and there can be a lifetime of side effects.

It was an emotional journey but it was also filled with much fun and many, many memorable moments.

I will never forget the sight of a young cancer patient, a petite girl, laughing uncontrollably as she is chased around a school parking lot by a big, burly police officer; making connections with the junior team members and their families and hearing their stories; seeing students doing whatever they could to raise money for the cause; and the strong support from so many businesses in the region.

When the Tour de Valley team rolled through South Delta last Thursday, one of its stops was at Delta Secondary where four Grade 9 students - Ashley Hughes, Jessie Lynes, Mirren Smillie and Madison Tani - had their heads shaved.

The tour might be over for another year but the hopefully the effects will last forever.

For more information about Cops for Cancer, or to make a donation, visit

Delta Optimist reporter Jessica Kerr was the media rider with the 2011 Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley team. She also chronicled the journey on her blog at

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