Tour de Rock’s Cops for Cancer roll through Sooke towards Sooke Elementary in 2018. (Tim Collins / Sooke News Mirror)

Cops for Cancer riders arrive in Sooke on Oct. 2

Sooke fundraising effort hit with theft of bottles

Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock, the annual fundraising event that raises money for pediatric cancer research, is on the road again.

The riders will pedal their way through Sooke on Wednesday (Oct.2) at 2:35 p.m. when they roll up to Saseenos Elementary School for a brief meet and greet with the community’s supporters of the fundraising effort.

As usual, schoolchildren, the public and municipal officials will be on hand as will the Harbourside Lions Club, who will once again join others in presenting Tour de Rock with a cheque.

RELATED: Lions donation in 2018

But that’s a presentation that had recently been put in doubt.

“We do a bottle drive every year for Tour de Rock with a sign in front of the RCMP station asking for people to drop off their bottles,” said Jane Beddows, a spokesperson for the Harbourside Lions Club.

“Our volunteers sort and bag the bottles, and we’re always so thankful for the generous support of the community.”

This year was no different and, starting on Sept. 16, the group saw a regular influx of bottles that they dutifully sorted and stored in the locked compound behind the RCMP station where they assumed they’d be safe.

“I guess that someone managed to climb over the fence to steal the bags of bottles that we’d sorted,” said Joanne Payment, another Harbourside Lions volunteer.

“We got there one morning and they were gone.”

That’s when the community really stepped up to show its character.

“One of our supporters put the situation on Facebook and Sooke responded as we’ve never seen before,” said Payment.

“They were dropping off bottles like mad and those who didn’t have bottles to donate dropped off cheques. It was overwhelming.”

When the bottle drive ended last week and all the donations were added up, a total of $2,800 had been raised.

Tour de Rock started in Edmonton in 1994, initially as an event in which police officers shaved their heads to raise funds for cancer research. The event came to Vancouver Island in 1997, but officers were unsatisfied with just the head-shaving event. They decided, instead, to ride the length of Vancouver Island to raise funds and, since that first ride in 1998, Cops for Cancer has raised more than $25 million for the pediatric cancer research.

Anyone wishing to donate to Tour de Rock can do so by visiting

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