It was 1998, and Mountie Marc Lavergne had just been transferred to the RCMP detachment in Campbell River.
It was also the early days of Tour de Rock, the newest edition to the Cops For Cancer bicycle ride, and from that moment, Lavergne knew it was a fundraiser he wanted to be a part of.
“It’s very positive. Everybody’s got their fundraising goal, which all goes to a great cause, and everyone’s there for the same reason, to help kids and families,” says the 56-year-old.
This year, Lavergne is totally “on board” for the Tour de Rock and is one of the riders making the long trek from Port Hardy to Victoria, stopping in Campbell River this coming Tuesday.
Actually, the ride begins Sunday in Port Alice, heads up to Port Hardy and then back down Island (see the full schedule below).
Lavergne now serves as the ceremonial, protocol and advisory non-commissioned officer for the Island District RCMP, and he’s riding in memory of Pauline Topola.
She was a co-worker battling pancreatic cancer and Lavergne asked if he could ride for her. The plan was to meet at the finish line in Victoria on Oct. 4.
In an e-mail response to Lavergne’s request, Topola wrote, “You have given me a goal to work toward to be present at the finish line in Victoria. I am so humbled and honoured.”
Sadly, she died shortly after sending the e-mail.
Lavergne will be carrying a photograph of Topola as he rides the length of Vancouver Island to help raise money for cancer research and for Camp Goodtimes, a summer camp for children who’ve been touched by cancer.
- Arrives in Campbell River on Tuesday, Sept. 24. Meet the riders at Campbell River Common mall from 4:30-6 p.m. Head shaving and more fun.
- Starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Boston Pizza is hosting a pizza and beer fundraiser in support of Tour de Rock. Tickets are $25 available in advance from Boston Pizza or Chan Nowosad Boates.
- Follow the tour riders online at www.tourderock.ca/blog
Sunday, Sept. 22
Port Alice to Port Hardy and Port McNeill, 97 kilometres.
Monday, Sept. 23
Port McNeill to Woss and Sayward, 140 kilometres.
Tuesday, Sept. 24
Sayward to Campbell River, 74 kilometres.
Wednesday, Sept. 25
Campbell River to Comox Valley, 60 kilometres.
Thursday, Sept. 26
Comox Valley to Union Bay, Qualicum and Parksville, 81 kilometres.
Friday, Sept. 27
Parksville to Port Alberni, 51 kilometres.
Saturday, Sept. 28
Port Alberni to Ucluelet, 102 kilometres.
Sunday, Sept. 29
Tofino to Nanaimo, 35 kilometres.
Monday, Sept. 30
Nanaimo to Ladysmith and Chemainus, 48 kilometres.
Tuesday, Oct. 1
Chemainus to Lake Cowichan and Duncan, 81 kilometres.
Wednesday, Oct. 2
Duncan to Shawnigan Lake, Mill Bay, to Sooke to West Shore, 78 kilometres.
Thursday, Oct. 3
Oak Bay, Victoria and Sidney, 40 kilometres.
Friday, Oct. 4
Esquimalt, Saanich and Victoria Spirit Square Finale, 40 kilometres.