It’s a labour of love for the RCMP riders who endure many gruelling kilometres all to raise awareness and funds for children in crisis.
Cops For Kids is in its 11th year of raising funds to help support children who must endure mental, physical and emotional crisis in the Southern Interior of B.C.
Each September, RCMP officers ride their bicycles on a 10-day trek that stops in Penticton this Friday around 3 p.m. at Andrew Sheret located at 298 Duncan Ave. W.
Penticton RCMP Const. Scott McGillivray is tackling the Cops For Kids ride for the second time, after completing it last year and helping raise over $5,000 for Penticton teen John Pierce who suffers from Lyme disease. The money assisted Pierce and his family who travel to the U.S. to get his treatment.
“The Cops for Kids charity gives the money directly to B.C. children with a focus in the Okanagan, being based in Kelowna. During the ride we get to meet some of the families we have helped and that will stay with me forever,” said McGillivray. “Plus, being a cyclist my entire life I enjoy the challenging ride and the promotion of cycling. I urge motorists to share the road and cyclists to obey all traffic laws.”
Riders are challenged to raise $2,000 from their own communities and so far McGillivray has raised just under $3,000 with pledges from community members and service clubs such as the Penticton Eagles, Eaglies Ladies Auxiliary and the Mechanical Contractors of B.C.
During the ride local business and service clubs have sponsored services to cover food and accommodation.
The 19 riders and six support crew will start the first leg of their journey today travelling from Kelowna to Penticton.
Over the past 11 years, $1.4 million has been raised through fundraising events like the signature bike ride event, golf tournaments, slo-pitch tournaments, dances, barbecues, sponsor donations from individuals, companies and service clubs. Grants supported by Cops For Kids have included wheelchairs, elevators, special mobility tools, therapy, special needs camps, travel and food expenses for children in treatments and more.
RCMP cyclists will travel in a loop starting in Kelowna making their way south through Penticton and Osoyoos. The riders then head east to Castlegar, Cranbrook and north to Golden and back to Kamloops, Vernon and ending back at the beginning in Kelowna.
For more information on how to donate for a child in your community, visit www.copsforkids.org.