Cops for Kids is an annual fundraiser for children in medical, physical or traumatic crisis.
On Friday morning, under grey and cool skies, 34 cyclists and a six-person support team from the RCMP’s South East District left Kelowna, hoping to raise money for the charitable foundation. The ride will last 10 days and will trek across the Okanagan, Similkameen, Boundary and Kootenay regions.
Each rider must provide his or her own bike, train on their own time, volunteer at community events and fundraise a minimum of $2,000 in order to participate.
“When I see the devotion that these members make to supporting local kids, it makes me want to help out where I can,” said Kelowna foundation president Al Hildebrandt. “These riders work overtime shifts keeping our communities safe, have families of their own at home, and they still give another 10 days to this ride, so we are going to do our part, too, and help raise the funds needed by local families.”
Organizers say the 34 riders is the largest team in the fundraiser’s history. And were it not for logistical issues, it could have been larger.
“We rely on the generosity of local hotels, restaurants, service clubs and businesses to host the team in each community, so we realize the pressure a large team puts on them. Their support is appreciated more than ever,” said ride captain and retired Staff Sergeant Major Julio Krenz. “To have this much interest from riders wanting to join the team to make a difference in their community speaks to devotion from the RCMP members and the partnering law enforcement agencies in our area so we are thrilled.”
The 2018 team will cycle more than 1,000 kilometres, stopping in 26 communities where they’ll be welcomed by local supporters, dignitaries, media and the Little Ambassadors that they pedal for each day. During the event’s 17 years, more than $4.5 million has been raised.
Daily updates will appear on the team blog during the ride. To follow the team along their journey or to make a donation please visit the website at http://www.copsforkids.org or follow along on Facebook and Instagram.