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County makes a difference in fight against childhood cancer

As the police officers ride in on their bicycles, students, teachers and community members are applauding, cheering and waving posters and banners. They know these members of the Pedal for Hope Cycling Tour are raising awareness and funds to support children battling cancer and they are only too happy to help them.

Since PEC OPP constables Kim Guthrie and Troy Bellehumeur started the tour a week ago with 10 peers from the region, they have raised more than $45,000. They are proud to have collected more than $11,400 from Prince Edward County.

Over the 10-day journey, the officers, support staff and volunteers present a high-energy assembly at 27 schools, instilling a “We Believe” message that a difference can be made in the fight against childhood cancer. Pedal for Hope is an extension of the well-known Cops for Cancer campaign where some officers and students shave their heads as a further show of support and fundraising effort.

At PECI Monday, student Kristen Piper was among nine students who raised $2,720.83 for the family of peer Sarah Reddick to assist with costs related to her second battle with cancer. Piper raised $1,438 on her own and was proud to have her photograph taken with Reddick.

Reddick was given permission from her doctors to be in attendance for the rally and was visibly cheered to see her friends and be a part of the campaign to assist families who are battling cancer.

Evelyn Wilson, of Carrying Place, joined the team this year as a support volunteer and through video, shared the story of her 15-year-old daughter Katie who died in 2011 following a nine-month battle with an aggressive form of bone cancer. Her story hit home for the many in the audience who shed tears while watching.

“One in five children diagnosed with cancer will die,” Evelyn said earlier. “There’s not a lot of research money specifically for children so this effort provides hope. And the funds really help families. It’s a huge financial issue. I hadn’t worked for the three years from Katie’s diagnosis to her passing,” she said.

“Support for the tour has snowballed from last year,” said Belleville police Det. Const. Jeremy Ashley. “The event has taken flight, especially in Prince Edward County. Last year the whole tour involved 10 schools and this year there are nine schools on the tour in the County alone.

The program has been running in the Peterborough area for almost a decade, raising $1 million. In last year’s first effort for the local crew, they collected $16,000 and through an event held in the summer, raised an additional $16,000. They have set this year’s goal at $50,000.

The tour began April 29 in Madoc, and made its way through Marmora and Stirling, Frankford, Trenton, Bayside, and Prince Edward County for three days before heading to Marysville, Corbyville and Belleville. A wrap-up celebration is set for May 10 from 4-7 p.m. in the Belleville Market Square. Anthony Mann, PEC OPP’s community services officer, had his head shaved at Massassauga Rednersville school last week.

Donations from County residents will be gratefully received at the OPP station on County Road 1. All the funds go toward pediatric cancer research and to assist families who are battling cancer.

Pedal for Hope 2013 well received in Prince Edward County. Note: Some photos below courtesy Pedal for Hope volunteers. More photos on the Pedal for Hope Facebook.

PEC OPP constable Kim Guthrie presents Athol South Marysburgh teacher Amira Loney with a ball cap in honour of her head shaving to raise funds for Pedal for Hope.

PEC OPP constable Kim Guthrie presents Athol South Marysburgh teacher Amira Loney with a ball cap in honour of her head shaving to raise funds for Pedal for Hope, also known as Cops for Cancer. -Janice Ruggles Bolton photo


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