Cops for Kids
Cyclists on the 16th annual Cops for Kids Ride wave to onlookers as they pedal through a smoky downtown Westbank last Friday morning. The team set off from Kelowna on a 10-day 100 kilometre ride through the RCMP’s South East District to raise money to support children facing illness, disability or traumatic crisis.
Twenty- ve cyclists pedalled through West Kelowna last Friday morning after setting off from Kelowna on the 16th annual Cops for Kids Ride.
Riders took a quick break at the West Kelowna Valley First on a 10-day ride of close to 1000 kilometres on a circle route through the Okanagan, Kootenay and Thompson regions.
The ride is the signature fundraiser for the Cops for Kids Charitable Foundation that raises money for children facing illness, disability or traumatic crisis.
This includes supporting children with just about any childhood affliction, children who have to spend months in oncology in Vancouver, premature babies as well as providing mobility including wheelchairs, walkers and therapies.
“You name it, we’re there,” said Gail Harrison, past president of Cops for Kids and grants coordinator.
Cops for Kids has raised more than $4 million since 2001.
Along the route through the RCMP’s South East District, the team will be greeted by local dignitaries and children and families who receive funding from the annual event.
For Harrison, who is on her 12th Cops for Kids ride, it’s all about helping children.
“We make such a difference to so many kids, you can’t not come back,” she said.
This year has been tough for many businesses in Kelowna, Kamloops and Penticton; however, Harrison said businesses have continued to support the Cops for Kids Ride.
About 85 per cent of the riders are RCMP, who are joined by supporting enforcement agencies within South Eastern B.C. Each had to raise at least $2,000 to join the ride.
This is Cpl. Carmen Penney of the West Kelowna detachment’s rst ride. She has wanted to do the event since she rst heard of it when she moved to Prince George.
Now in the Okanagan, Penney took up cycling in June and said this is her time to ride.
“The cause is amazing,” she said. While she has been fortunate enough to have healthy kids, when she sees kids in need it really draws her.
This is the seventh ride for John Bauer, an auxiliary with the Kelowna detachment.
Initially he looked at the 1000-km ride as a challenge, but said he was blown away when he met families with children who were struggling. “It changes you,” he said. He recalled meeting a two-year old child in Summerland who had undergone open heart surgery. She was so tiny, Bauer’s hand was the size of her back.
“She was so happy to see everybody,” he said. “These little ones have hearts of warriors.”
Along with seeing the children, Bauer enjoys the feeling of accomplishment he gets from making a difference, saying it rejuvenates him for the rest of the year.
Over the 10-day ride, the cyclists form a bond. While they set out as individuals, Bauer said they nish as friends.
The ride wraps up in Kelowna on Sept. 17. To follow the team's progress or make a donation, go online to copsforkids.org.
The Cops for Kids team poses with Valley First staff outside the West Kelowna location last Friday morning. The team stopped for some refreshment after leaving Kelowna on a 10-day 1000-kilometre fundraising ride.
Cyclists wave to those on the sidewalk as they pedal through Westbank.