Two White Rock RCMP members have been pedalling with a purpose lately.
Const. Emma Dyer and Cpl. Tarmii Miskiw are both participating in this year’s Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley, where local police officers and emergency services personnel ride 800 kilometres to support children and families living with cancer.
While it’s Dyer’s third year cycling in the fundraising initiative, it will be the first time for Miskiw.
When a co-worker mentioned the detachment didn’t have anyone representing White Rock three years ago and wondered if Dyer might be interested, she immediately liked the idea.
“I’ve always been into fitness… I thought, that sounds good – something for the community and physical fitness for me, so I figured it was two things that I liked doing, put together – for a really great cause,” she said.
Her favourite aspect is getting to meet the children and the families who are dealing with childhood cancer.
“Just hearing their stories and seeing their daily battle… we kind of describe it as a hill you go up – (on the way) up, you have those tough times, then you have your easy times on the way down – it’s never just a flat road,” she explained.
“Some days they’re doing great, and then next day, they’ll be in the hospital because they have an infection or having rough days with chemo.”
When they ride approximately 100 kilometres a day for eight days Sept. 15-22 throughout the Lower Mainland and valley, it’s those stories and the children behind them that are her inspiration.
“It gives me that strength… anything I’m doing isn’t as difficult as what they’re going through.”
“I’m looking forward to it as it comes closer – it drives you… you’ve got to work for it,” he said, noting how he was able to attend Camp Goodtimes, an inspirational camp venue.
Because of the Cops for Cancer program, $16.4 million has been invested in pediatric cancer research in the past five years, and, last year alone, more than 500 B.C. children, youth and parents were able to attend sessions at Camp Goodtimes.
He loved seeing kids of all ages, even though dealing with cancer, just having fun and enjoying a true camp experience, with all the usual activities, games and sports.
“They’re just kids there… they just feel normal, they’re all the same and they’re being kids – laughing, how they should be – they try to keep them being kids, and just having fun.”
A cyclist who is more used to mountain biking, he said it was “quite the transition” to street cycling.
“It’s completely different. I’m enjoying it though – like anything, if you put your mind to it, it’s getting easier and easier and I’m feeling a lot more powerful and a lot stronger,” he said.
Participating in a Cops for Cancer cycling tour is something he had always told his dad he would do, Miskiw said, but when his father died last year, he figured it was time.
“I try to always follow through with what I say… if not now, when?”
With children of his own who are now older, he has more free time to train, he noted.
“Any research for any kind of disease – especially for kids – that’s the biggest thing, obviously… I have two of my own. It makes you appreciate what you’ve got and how fortunate you are – as a parent with healthy children, it was kind of an eye-opener.”