Chemainus and District pours its heart and considerable funds into the Tour de Rock Cops For Cancer campaign.
Representatives of community organizations came armed with cheques to Tuesday morning’s breakfast at the Chemainus Legion Hall.
The 49th Parallel Grocery’s longstanding commitment to the cause was reinforced again with a whopping $45,198.46 contribution from its ongoing garage sale in the general store plus other fundraising ventures throughout the year.
“Just to put it in perspective, this amount of money will send 30 kids to camp,” noted Tour spokesperson Mena Westhaver.
The total was more than $11,000 above what 49th raised last year.
“Every year it blows us away,” said spokesman Peter Richmond. “It’s become our big fundraiser of the year championed by Ron (Neubauer) and the whole community helps out.”
“I’m totally impressed. Good job. Way to go,” enthused North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP rider Kris Wood.
The kids in the group, Ethan and Seth Williams, even turned over another $1,625.20 from their own personal fundraising. “That’s one more child to Camp Goodtimes,” added Westhaver.
Additional donations digested after breakfast included $10,000 from the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary.
The Chemainus-Crofton Eagles Auxiliary presented a cheque for $2,000 to the Tour and another $1,500 came from the Aerie.
“You guys do a fantastic job,” said Dee Jones of the Auxiliary. “Cancer touches all of us.”
Wes Everitt turned over $1,785 from the Royal Canadian Legion Chemainus Branch 191 and Len Lavender gave another $1,000 on behalf of the Chemainus Rotary Club.
Other smaller contributions were also made, but every single nickle, dime and dollar makes a huge difference toward assisting those with childhood cancer.
Various members of the community were also the recipients of special certificates or plaques for their efforts, including breakfast organizer Janet Mitchell of the Legion.
Media rider Arnold Lim of Black Press, who was also on the Tour in 2013, has seen the impacts on families who lost young loved ones since the last time he made the Trek that keeps him and the others going.
“They’re still there supporting it,” he noted. “You look into their eyes and you can see their soul has been crushed.”
But everyone vows to carry on for a brighter future when childhood cancer will be minimal or nonexistent.
Put into that context, the gruelling part of the ride doesn’t seem like quite as big of a deal to the riders.
“Not being a natural cyclist, not being a natural athlete, the ride for me is quite challenging,” Lim conceded.
One part that’s a lot better for him than 2013 and on this 20th anniversary ride is the weather.
“It was raining almost every day,” Lim recalled. “This is a big improvement.”
The riders made a quick stop at Chemainus Elementary School after breakfast before heading to Lake Cowichan and back to Duncan by Tuesday afternoon.
Chemainus may be a small spot on the map, but it left another big impression with the Tour.