For RCMP officer Afzeel Yakub, one of the most valuable elements of the Cops for Cancer fundraiser is the conversation it has created in Whistler about cancer.
“In letting my contacts know about what is coming up, I have actually had a few people bounce back to me and say, ‘I’ve got this friend suffering from cancer and this is what is going on,’” he said during an interview this week.
“It just has created a whole conversation in the community. It has created a vibe and buzz about things and has allowed people to communicate more.”
To keep the spirit of the fundraiser going, the RCMP officer is working hard to make sure this year’s event is as strong as ever by putting together several events this summer to raise funds for pediatric cancer research, through the federal government’s National Research Council.
The summer kicks off with the second annual community bike ride from Pemberton to Whistler on June 28. The ride will start at 10 a.m. from Signal Hill Elementary, with a police escort and ambulance accompanying the bikers. Registration is $15.
“It is a really fun ride. It is not a race or anything. It is a casual ride. It’s more about creating awareness and bringing people together,” explained Yakub.
Yakub said this year he is hoping to increase the number of bikers from 20 to 100.
Another big fundraising event for Cops for Cancer is the RCMP regimental ball that will be held in September.
Also in September, there will be the province-wide RCMP Cops for Cancer bike ride.
“About 35 to 40 riders in each group take to the streets and ride usually about 1000 kilometres in the hope of creating awareness and fundraising for cancer research,” said Yakub.
He explained that through B.C. there are four groups of riders: Tour de Coast (including the Sea to Sky corridor), Tour de Rock (on Vancouver Island) Tour de Valley (in Fraser Valley) and Tour de North (through the Interior).
And while Yakub is still ironing out the details for other events this summer to raise money, he wants to encourage people now to volunteer or make donations to the program.
“If someone wants to take on and do something that they are really passionate about to help the cause, I am more than willing to work with them to get that going,” he said.
“This is not just about me. Even though I am riding for the entire Sea to Sky, I am just one member of the community. This is a community thing.”
Yakub can be reached through the Whistler RCMP phone line at 604-932-3044.