A three-year veteran, two return riders from 2014, and five rookies from the North Okanagan will be cycling across southeastern B.C. to raise money for local children this September.
The Cops for Kids Ride takes place Sept. 11 to 20 across southeastern B.C. for the annual 1,000-km cycling fundraiser to assist children in medical, physical or traumatic crisis.
Returning for 2015 are prison guard Kevin Lane, Vernon RCMP Const. Nicolas Reimann and auxiliary Const. Peter Foodikoff.
Rounding out the North Okanagan team as rookies this year are B.C. Sheriff Staff-Sgt.Tanya Smith, Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP transcriptionist Denise McMahon, Cpl. James Moore of Armstrong, Vernon Const. Cheryl Heber and Enderby Const. Krista Boudreau.
Lake Country Const. Brandwyn Rigby will also be a part of the 2015 team.
For these eight North Okanagan riders, it’s the opportunity to give back to their communities where they live and serve.
Each rider is responsible for providing their own bike, training on their own time, and fundraising a minimum of $2,000 in order to be a part of the team.
It’s an emotional journey, but certainly a worthwhile one.
“I remember one boy that we met last year, and his name was Hugo. He was so excited to meet our team, waiting out in the sun for over an hour in his wheelchair with his mom,” said Foodikoff.
“It was so great to meet him, and to hear his story of how our fundraising has helped him lead a better life reminded us all while we were out riding for the kids who really need it.”
The North Okanagan riders are joined by 25 others from RCMP Detachments across southeastern B.C. who will start their journey in Kelowna on Sept 11.
Over the 10 days, they’ll cover some challenging terrain including two mountain passes.
It’s no easy feat, but the group have all been training and they’re feeling up to the task.
“I’ve never done anything like this before in my life,” said Smith.
“Physically I know I can accomplish the challenge, but having the opportunity to give to the children is going to be a humbling and emotional experience. I know we’ve got some serious athletes on this team, but at the end of the day we’ve all got hearts for the kids.”
The group is still working on fundraising so donations are greatly appreciated to help them all reach their goals.
Donations can be made at any Vernon- North Okanagan RCMP Detachment, or online at www.copsforkids.org where you can also follow the team on its journey.