One rider's journey to help kids facing cancer

16 September 2019

Twenty years ago, paramedic Bob Lee met a child with cancer whose strength and resilience left a lasting impression. “He was so determined to stay strong for his mom, and it’s stayed with me ever since,” Bob says.

Bob later joined the Canadian Cancer Society’s (CCS) Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast, riding not only for that child, but for a friend that had developed stomach cancer and the others on tour with whom he quickly developed a strong bond.

Cops for Cancer first began in 1997, when Sergeant Gary Goulet of the Edmonton Police Service met Lyle Jorgenson, a then 5-year-old boy who had cancer. Goulet requested the meeting after learning that Lyle was being ridiculed at school because of his hair loss due to chemotherapy. Goulet was so moved by the boy’s story, he rallied his colleagues to shave their heads in solidarity as a fundraiser for CCS.

The event concept spread and evolved to neighbouring police services and eventually across the country raising millions of dollars for childhood cancer research and support programs such as Camp Goodtimes, a camp where young people and children with cancer can make unforgettable summer memories at no cost.

Today, hundreds of law enforcement and emergency services personnel have raised millions of dollars through Cops for Cancer head shave, cycling and golf events.

Each tour is unique for Bob, with the riders coming together along the journey and sharing their personal motivations for putting in the time and dedication. “A lot of these riders, are strong minded individuals. As we share our stories, there are vulnerable moments in the group and, as a result, our camaraderie becomes stronger during the tour.”

And adding to their motivation is the energy at each stop the riders make along the tour, where people come out and cheer them on. Bob describes it as “uplifting, seeing kids at schools, they are awesome and inspiring. I have been blessed to be a part of these rides.”

Bob will be riding his 10th tour this year and has no plans to stop any time soon. You can get involved and support riders like Bob at Cops for Cancer to help children affected by cancer.