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Officers ‘Pedal for Hope’ that childhood cancer can be cured

Cheers and applause rang out this morning at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute as the school, and students from Queen Elizabeth Public School, welcomed area police officers cycling in to launch the area’s first Pedal for Hope Cycling Tour.
The officers will visit 10 area schools over five days to speak with students and support local children who are living with cancer. Pedal for Hope started in Peterborough in 2005 and has raised more than $1.3 million for pediatric cancer research.

Inside the school’s junior cafeteria, the students heard about the Pedal for Hope program during a lively presentation.
Officers from the Peterborough detachment explained the cycling tour began when a few officers felt the Cops for Cancer head shaving program was just not enough. Officers use holiday time to ride 1,000 kms over three weeks to visit 52 schools and support children – from newborns right up to high school age – who are fighting the fight of their lives.

But the head shaving tradition continues.
Prince Edward OPP constable Kim Guthrie announced she raised $1,680 to have her head shaved. She showed the audience her riding badge which features a photograph of herself with PECI student Sarah Reddick who was diagnosed with leukemia in December.
“And the little cutie in the corner of the photo is my step-brother Eric. I lost him 37 years ago to cancer,” Guthrie said. “We really hope our efforts are making a difference.”

Guthrie explained the history of the Cops for Cancer program which has raised $50.4 million for cancer research. She explained that in 1994 an Edmonton police officer heard about a five year old cancer patient who lost his hair and was being ridiculed at school. The officer decided to shave his head and be photographed with the child in hopes the teasing would stop.
“That’s how Cops for Cancer began,” Guthrie said. “I get that because kids used to tease Eric. I was nine and he was seven when he lost his hair and I protected Eric. I didn’t know anything about Cops for Cancer then, but now I do so I’m going to shave my head today in memory of Eric, in support Sarah, Brittany and Kate and all those kids who are fighting cancer now.”

Brittany Williams is a PECI graduate now home from her first year at university. She was in attendance at the morning assembly and the crowd cheered as Guthrie noted Williams has been cancer free for the past eight years.

Kate Neale, a 21-year-old from Belleville, told the students how she learned the dangers of indoor tanning the hard way. She worked at a tanning salon and last year discovered she had contracted skin cancer as a result of her tanning habit. She now volunteers with the Cancer Society.

“I was diagnosed with stage two melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer. The reason why I got that was because of a decision I made when turned 16, and that was to tan indoors. Cancer affects many of us and there are things that are out of your control but there are things you can do to help prevent it such as stay away from tanning beds, don’t smoke, drink alcohol and eat healthy. That’s my story, I survived it and I’m lucky to be able to tell you guys that. So my message is to stay away from tanning beds – they are highly addictive.”

Over the next four days the Pedal for Hope will visit Trenton, Belleville, Madoc and Tweed. The wrap up celebration is set for Friday May 4 at Belleville’s Market Square beginning at 3 pm.
At approximately 4:30 pm, the Pedal for Hope team, accompanied by the local children they are riding in support of, will cycle together into the Market Square to join the celebrations until 7pm.  All are welcome to enjoy a fundraising barbecue, live entertainment, meet some remarkable cancer survivors and witness more head shaving. With parental permission, students may also shave their heads or cut their ponytails in a show of support.

Prince Edward County OPP Constable Kim Guthrie leads police officers from the region to PECI for the opening ceremonies of this area's first Pedal for Hope Cycling tour. The officers will be cycling to 10 area schools over the next five days to speak with students and support local children who have fought and are fighting cancer.


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Cst. Kim Guthrie

April 23 – When Prince Edward OPP Constable Kim Guthrie gets her head shaved next Monday, she’ll be remembering her eight-year-old step-brother Eric and how cancer ended his life far too soon.

“Eric died 37 years ago and we’re still waiting for a cure,” said Guthrie. “That’s a bit discouraging, but we can’t give up hope.”

She will also join fellow police officers from Prince Edward OPP, Belleville Police Service, Quinte West OPP and Central Hastings OPP on a Pedal for Hope Cycling team in support of pediatric cancer. The officers will visit 10 area schools over five days to speak with students and supporting local children who are living with cancer. Pedal for Hope is an extension of Cops for Cancer.

You can show your support for Guthrie, and pediatric cancer, by making a donation during a barbecue hosted by Grade 10 students at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute, Thursday, April 26 from 11 a.m. to noon on the front lawn of the Picton high school.

Donations can also be made at the Prince Edward OPP station on County Road 1. Cheques should be made out to the Canadian Cancer Society.

The tour officially kicks off at 8:15am Monday, April 30 at PECI during a short assembly honouring a student who is currently living with cancer.
Following some head shaving, survivor testimonials and activities, the tour continues through Prince Edward County and over the next four days will visit Trenton, Belleville, Madoc and Tweed. With parental permission, students may also shave their heads or cut their ponytails in a show of support.

The wrap up celebration is set for Friday May 4 at Belleville’s Market Square beginning at 3 pm. At approximately 4:30 pm, the Pedal for Hope team, accompanied by the local children they are riding in support of, will cycle together into the Market Square to join the celebrations until 7pm.  All are welcome to enjoy a fundraising barbecue, live entertainment, meet some remarkable cancer survivors and witness more head shaving.

In 2005 Pedal for Hope started in Peterborough and since then has raised over $1.3 million dollars for pediatric cancer research.  2012 is the inaugural year of the Hastings and Prince Edward County Canadian Cancer Society Pedal for Hope Cycling Tour.

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  1. Mrs marion says:

    Such a great thing. Proud to have you in our community and supporting our children in so many ways.
    Tara

  2. I am so proud to be a staff member from Queen Elizabeth Public School Picton. Our students are great tigers. They roar when they are needed and show support to our community.
    I lost a very dear friend to cancer a year ago and still deal with that battle every day.
    I would like to thank all of the officers and especially Kim for doing a great job and bringing awareness and hope to all. You all rock.

  3. Greer Koutroulides says:

    What a great day! So proud of PECI panthers for showing their community spirit and support for Sarah.
    Good luck Kim!

  4. Valerie Burns says:

    My dear frined Kim Guthrie. Once again here you are giving to others as you have so many times in the past. I love what you are doing and I am proud to call you my friend. Pride makes the difference in our job and you certainly have that. Love you lots.

    Val Burns

  5. Mrs. Fort says:

    We are so proud as a school community to be able to support Kim and her fellow officers in this initiative. What a wonderful legacy and tribute to a little brother. We’re really looking forward to the officers arrival at our school on Monday! And still talk about the occasion when Constable Kim and “Bruin” visited our school library on the last day of Project Dare. That was educational and fun, and some of the students wondered if Bruin might even be able to track down some of our lost library books someday as well! Here’s to the Pedal of Hope campaign.

  6. Linda MacPherson says:

    I’m so proud to tell people that u are my sister. Everyone in the county who knows you loves you & this is one of the reasons why!!Always helping others………xoxo

  7. Karen Luyben says:

    Way to go Kim! I’m very proud of you …. always helping others. Your kind nature is an inspiration to all!!!

  8. Kathy Hibbert says:

    Kim Guthrie, you never cease to amaze me! Your efforts will give courage to survivors and comfort to those grieving a loss while waiting for that too elusive cure. The Ontario Provincial Police is fortunate to have such a wonderful ambassador and one day, cancer will be beaten! Such a beautiful tribute to Eric. The students in Hastings and Prince Edward County are in for an inspiring visit!
    Kathy Hibbert

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