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Officers Pedal for Hope in support of children fighting cancer

Pedal for Hope kick-off last year at PECI. Donations from County residents will be gratefully received at the OPP station on County Road 1, or at participating schools. All funds go toward pediatric cancer research and assist families who are battling cancer.

Pedal for Hope 2013

PEC OPP constable Kim Guthrie pretends to give officer Anthony Mann a quick buzz cut with one of six new wireless hair trimmers presented as a donation by Knights of Columbus Doug Gannon, Alfred Gannon and Dan Rolfe. He will lose his hair officially when the Pedal for Hope second annual tour begins in the County on May 2. On hand to promote the event and show off the new trailer – courtesy of Bayview Auto – to help transport the 14 riders, four volunteers and supplies, were cyclist Troy Bellehumeur, of the PEC OPP and Belleville police riders Julie Forestell and Wayne Groen. Evelyn Wilson will be one of four support volunteers on the journey.

Riding on the spectacular success of the area’s first Pedal for Hope Cycling Tour, local police officers will connect with elementary students again this year to raise awareness and funds in support of children who are battling cancer.

The cycling team of police officers are to present a high-energy assembly at 27 schools, instilling cancer prevention techniques and 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.

PEC OPP Constable Kim Guthrie rode on the tour and shaved her head last year in support of PECI student Sarah Reddick and in memory of her step-brother Eric who she lost to cancer, when they were both children, more than 35 years ago.

“Sarah’s cancer was in remission but now the cancer is back,” said Guthrie. One of the teachers at the school notified Guthrie that one of Sarah’s first reactions was to ensure Guthrie knew she wanted the Pedal for Hope to continue. “She wants to be part of it herself, if she’s able and if her doctors allow it. No matter what, we will be thinking of her.”

Guthrie will be joined on the 10-day course by PEC detachment officer Troy Bellehumeur and 12 peers from the region.

Bellehumeur spoke of several relatives and friends who fought cancer and said anything that can be done to raise funds and awareness is worthwhile. He expects the ride to be a challenge “but that is nothing compared to the struggle that people diagnosed with cancer go through from day-to-day.”

Evelyn Wilson, of Carrying Place, has joined the team as a support volunteer. Her 15-year-old daughter Katie died in 2011 following a nine-month battle with an aggressive form of bone cancer.

“One in five children diagnosed with cancer will die,” she said. “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.”

“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 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 begins Monday, April 29 in Madoc, and makes its way through Marmora and Stirling, Frankford, Trenton, Bayside and on Thursday, May 2 arrives in Prince Edward County for three days before heading to Marysville, Corbyville and Belleville with a wrap-up celebration set for May 10 from 4-7 p.m. in the Belleville Market Square.

Anthony Mann, who took over recently as the OPP’s community services officer, will have his head shaved at Massassauga Rednersville school when the tour begins in the County at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 2. Donations from County residents will be gratefully received at the OPP station on County Road 1, or at participating schools. All funds go toward pediatric cancer research and assist families who are battling cancer.

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