The RCMP’s annual Cops for Kids Ride began its long journey throughout southern B.C. on Friday.
The yearly fundraiser sees area police officers and supporting enforcement agencies from within the Southeast District ride from Kelowna to Cranbrook and back to the Okanagan over nine days.
The team will ride in a bubble and will raise money and awareness for kids facing illness, disability or traumatic crisis within southeastern B.C.
Friday’s journey saw the team ride from the Sandman Hotel in Kelowna to Osoyoos, a distance of 130 kilometres.
For Saturday, the team will pedal 125 km to Grand Forks, followed by a ride of 98 km to Grand Forks on Sunday.
It’s expected they’ll arrive in Cranbrook on Wednesday, with the team then regathering in Salmon Arm on Thursday before biking to Kamloops, then Vernon, where they’ll end their trip on Saturday, Sept. 18.
Each rider who participates in the annual event must provide their own bike, train on their own time, volunteer at community events and fundraise a minimum of $2,500 in order to participate.
“Being together with their colleagues of like-minded individuals really motivates the team and keeps them pushing up those steep hills,” said ride captain and ret. Staff Sgt. Major Julio Krenz.
While the ride will travel through many communities, in an effort to keep people safe, RCMP say there will be little to no interaction with the public.
Still, supporters are asked to wave and cheer from the roadside as the team journeys through the region.
The 2021 ride is presented by the Impact Tomorrow Foundation. Also, this year’s riding jersey features a pink sleeve — a nod to the mothers and families of sick children.
The foundation says funds raised will go towards families needing financial assistance to get through their medical crisis.
“The children facing an illness have parents at their side each day, staying strong for their child who needs them now more than ever,” said Impact Tomorrow founder and president Al Hildebrandt.
“The pink sleeve of the jersey this year reminds us of those parents and their constant worries.”