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Pedal for Hope into gear next week

Pedal for Hope off to their next stop on the 2015 tour.

Pedal for Hope off to their next stop on the 2015 tour.

Next week the fifth annual Pedal for Hope tour will cycle through Hastings and Prince Edward counties. The 10-day tour, which runs from April 25 through May 6th, raises funds and awareness for childhood cancer with proceeds benefiting the Canadian Cancer Society.

Beginning in 2012, police officers from the Belleville Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police Service embarked on a cycling tour that cruises to elementary schools throughout Prince Edward County, Belleville, Quinte West and Centre Hastings.

In the weeks leading up to the tour, students at the schools visited are asked to raise money – all of which is earmarked for childhood cancer research through the Canadian Cancer Society and to support that organization’s ride program. To date, over the course of three years the tour has raised more than $325,000 for the cause.

“The money aside, the heart of this event is on the special kids that reside in our communities who have been diagnosed with cancer,” said Det.-Const. Jeremy Ashley, with the Belleville Police Service. “During the tour, each officer is paired up with one or two of these ‘special friends’ and ride in that child’s honor.
The event is a tremendous show of support for each of these children and their families as they battle their illness. Many of these children have been diagnosed with a life threatening form of cancer.”

PEC OPP officers Kim Guthrie and Troy Bellehuymeur will again ride – this year in support of the County’s Abigail Heffernan and Ella Mulder who are undergoin cancer treatments.

High-energy assemblies are held that feature presentations to children, head shaves, ice cream eating contest, and educational messages about fighting cancer and living healthy lifestyles.

“Each year, in fact, we travel to upwards of 30 schools over two weeks, visiting thousands of students and spreading positive messages of hope, healing and healthy living,” said Ashley.

Despite all the odds stacked against them, many of the local heroes join the riders on the last day to pedal alongside for the final leg of the tour.

Each officer involved volunteers their own time.

“It’s a very important component of Pedal for Hope, and one we are all proud of,” said Ashley. “Our crew – all 18 team members and 10 support crew volunteers – do the Pedal for Hope on their own time. Many arrange to have their regular days off switched to coincide with tour dates, others simply take two weeks of holidays.
It speaks volumes of how much these men and women believe not only in the program, but want to support families in our community who need it by giving up time with their own.”

This year the tour also launched its pedalforhopequinte.ca website offering schools and students a one-stop shop for resources and to track their progress through the campaign.

“In addition, pedalforhopequinte.ca offers information about our tour for the public, interested sponsors and those who may be thinking about hopping aboard and becoming a guest rider with us in the future,” said Ashley.

Pedal for Hope Quinte sponsors include a number of local, national and international businesses, industries and individuals.

This year, the final wrap up event – dubbed the biggest Birthday Party in the City – will be on Friday May 6 at the Belleville location of Canadian Tire starting at 4 p.m. At that time, the Pedal for Hope team, accompanied by the local children they are riding in support of, will cycle together along Bell Boulevard to Reid’s Dairy from Canadian Tire – and back again to enjoy a fundraising barbecue, live entertainment, and bouncy castles. The public is invited to attend, buy a burger, climb a rock wall, high-five some local cops and meet some remarkable cancer survivors.

On Monday, April 25, the tour in the County begins at Massassauga-Rednersville and continues to Kente and CML Snider.

On Tuesday, stops are set for St. Gregory’s, Athol South Marysburgh and Pinecrest, while Wednesday is a combined visit at PECI with Queen Elizabeth School students, then to Sophiasburgh and heading into Tyendinaga to move on to Marmora, Stirling, Frankford, Tweed, Foxboro, Madoc, Bayside, Belleville and Trenton.

Filed Under: Hastings & Prince Edward District School BoardLocal News

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