Cpl. Manon Chouinard and Tour de Rock junior rider Daisy Irwin.

Daisy is what ride is all about

Tour de Rock junior rider and cancer survivor

Six-year-old Daisy, a Cops for Cancer junior rider, was all smiles dressed in purple from head to toe Friday afternoon at Sooke Home Hardware when she was waiting for one of her sponsor riders to show up. Anyone would be hard-pressed to know she battled leukemia as a newborn.

She underwent a bone marrow transplant when she was six months old, and that’s how she originally got involved with the Tour de Rock, said Daisy’s mother Emma Irwin.

“We’ve been involved with the tour for about five years now, it’s just sort of a natural gravitation towards fundraising and it’s an amazing event,” said Irwin.

“We said Daisy would like to be involved, she was only two the first time.”

As a junior rider, Daisy attends events to promote the cause that raises money for pediatric cancer research. A portion of the donations is used to send kids with cancer and their families to Camp Goodtimes at Loon Lake in Maple Ridge for a week of free entertainment.

Daisy has three sponsors participating in the Tour de Rock that will pass through Sooke at Poirier Elementary on Oct. 5. One of them is RCMP Cpl. Manon Chouinard who is based in Victoria but lives in Sooke. She has been a part of the popular campaign since 1999 when she posted at the Sayward RCMP detachment.

“I was always thinking every time the riders would go out of town I would sure love to do that one day and raise the money and be a rider myself. And then the years went by and here I am in 2011,” said Chouinard.

She said she was introduced to Daisy by the Canadian Cancer Society, and met with the whole family whom she has gotten to know very well.

“It sure puts the real true meaning why you’re doing it and why you’re pedalling. And seeing Daisy how she is now is amazing fully knowing what she went through when she was only 10 weeks old.”

The corporal, who moved here from Quebec in 2002 and has served with the force for 26 years, said she had the chance to visit Camp Goodtimes in the summer. Seeing kids who battled or who are still battling cancer forget about everything for a week and just have fun and be a family again made her “heart really warm.”

Tolv Neuendorff, manager at Sooke Home Hardware, gave her a cheque for $392.53 that his business raised to help with the efforts. It will go towards the $20,000 team target that she said has already been surpassed.

Chouinard and the rest of the riders will stop at Poirier at 1:50 p.m. next Wednesday and depart at 3:05. They will be greeted by Sooke Pipes and Drums and the T’Sou-ke Nation who will be performing a song before entering the school for the opening ceremonies. The group will also be joined by students from surrounding schools.

Other highlights of the day include the “Balding of Sooke” where people can donate money and have their head shaved in support of Cops for Cancer, presentations by fundraisers, and food served.

The tour takes place over 1,100 kilometres and will end on Oct. 7 in Victoria’s Centennial Square.

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