Tour de Rock media rider

Local kids hold united front against juvenile cancer

Tour de Rock riders and their junior counterparts worked together to raise money for the noble cause

Local kids gathered together, along with Tour de Rock riders, to raise awareness and money for cancer research in front of Village Food Markets on July 28.

Every child remembers holding their first lemonade stand, but for seven-year-old Daisy Irwin, the purpose was greater: a cure for cancer.

Daisy, a Sooke resident and cancer survivor, was diagnosed with two types of infant leukemia at just 10 weeks old.

The prognosis was grim, with Daisy being given only a five per cent chance of survival.

After undergoing rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant at six months old, Daisy has now been cancer free for six and a half years.

“She’s a miracle,” said her mother, Emma Irwin, adding you would never know the boisterous and outgoing child ever had cancer.

“You just wouldn’t know and that’s amazing.”

Also involved in the lemonade stand was Daisy’s older sister, Molly Irwin, 8, and Owen Campbell, 7, whose 19-month-old baby sister, Molly Campbell, recently overcame infant leukemia.

According to Daisy, the lemonade stand was an effort to raise money for Owen’s upcoming Tour de Rock head shave.

The precocious child, who was dressed in a Mountie red serge coat, and wide-brimmed Stetson hat for the occasion, had one message for her peers faced with cancer.

“I hope they can be a cancer survivor, too. I just really want them to live.”

Daisy, who has been a part of Tour de Rock for about six years, is currently a junior rider to media rider, Kyle Slavin and Const. Steven Martindale.

After covering the event as a reporter with the Saanich News, Slavin, 24,  jumped at the opportunity to become involved.

He said the gruelling bike rides that reach up to 200-kilometres per week are secondary to the rewards that come from meeting the young people who find the silver lining when faced with the formidable disease.

“Daisy is my junior rider, and it is so, so neat being able to see them just act like kids, despite the fact that I know that they had cancer in the past,” he said.

“It doesn’t seem to affect them in any way.”

He said it has been an emotional experience to witness children recount their personal struggles with cancer, “something a seven year old shouldn’t be able to do.”

The Tour de Rock is an intiative of the Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer.

The riders will cycle from one end of Vancouver Island to the other from Sept 22 to Oct. 5, covering 1,000 kilometres in an effort to raise money for pediatric cancer research and programs for children with a history of cancer.