Tour de Rock riders arrive at Campbell River Common last Tuesday.

Tour de Rock full of love, laughter and emotion

We encouraged each other with high fives, hugs and remembering we are doing all this for the kids

Lisa Harrison

Tour de Rock Coordinator

My name is Lisa Harrison. I am the North Island Tour de Rock Coordinator. I just got home from one of the most incredible life changing week of my life.

It started off in Port Alice where I met the 24 Tour de Rock riders and 22 support crew with hugs and a warm welcome into the Tour de Rock family. Every night the riders and crew got together to talk about the day. As I sat back and listened each night I was amazed and moved with everyone stories, positive attitudes and strength to do a great job. The professional and positive manner that the road boss and support crew would do to encourage the riders every night was superb.

From morning till late night we were a team. We encouraged each other with high fives, hugs and remembering we are doing all this for the kids.

Each stop, little or big was special. Touching moments that stick in my head was the small village of Port Alice that fed us an unbelievable seafood dinner and raised $12,000.

Port Hardy and Port McNeill was sunny and beautiful with their amazing small town hospitality.  Woss was the first school the riders got to meet with huge hearts and big hugs. In Sayward, the whole community came out with warm dishes of food that filled the gym from one end to another and raising $14,000.

In Campbell River the community opened their doors in the pouring rain and wind to keep our riders warm and bellies full. They graciously raised around $90,000.

Then it was off to Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland where it was one of the longest days but also one of the most emotional and rewarding with head shaves, junior riders, tons of schools, raising over $40,000 in one night. they also honoured past rider Mike Lawless who is battling cancer and remembered Dave Smart whom we lost 10 years ago to melanoma. Even though all the schools had not been able to do their usual fundraising efforts due to the school strike. The most important thing to the Tour de Rock riders was being able to meet the kids. So many schools opened their doors and hearts to meet our riders. Schools still want to fundraise now that they are back in. It was touching and special for all the tour riders to have the chance to meet all the kids.

For me, what sticks out the most in my heart was meeting five year old Natalia Corrigall and her family in Campbell River. She is battling leukemia.

All the 24 riders and some support crew surrounded the family and listened to her story there wasn’t a dry eye. That was the moment for me when I realized why I am doing all this. When I had a chance to meet the family it brought me to my knees and almost left me speechless. I had to stop the tears and look at that little girl and her mother in their eyes and see their hearts were filled with joy and hope for the future because of all the tour riders and communities that are working so hard to fundraise to help kids like her to fight and beat this battle.

My experience with the Tour de Rock 2014 was full of love, laughter, tears, crazy emotions but, mostly, full of proud moments that I got to help each community and tour riders come together and help raise money for kids with Cancer.