Special to the Record
The glorious summer sun, a local hero-in-training and an uplifting dose of Comox Valley community spirit were all in effect at Comox District Co-op’s annual Tour de Rock fundraising event last weekend.
The event, which consisted of a car wash and barbecue at the Co-op’s Aspen Road location, raised nearly $1,600, eclipsing its goal of $1,000. All money raised goes to the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock, an annual 1,000-kilometre bike ride throughout Vancouver Island that raises funds to fight pediatric cancer.
“The support of the community made this easy,” says Richard Kerton, manager of Comox District Co-op. “No one needed to be pushed — people came out in droves.
“One co-op member paid $100 for a hot dog,” he says. “Another brought in a big bag of coins he’d collected throughout the year. We had the Glacier Kings hockey team out washing windshields at the pump, which brought in some generous tips.
“James Matsuda, one of the Comox Valley’s two riders in the Tour, was helping out. The entire atmosphere was festive and a whole lot of fun!”
Comox District Co-op is part of an Island-wide network of co-ops that is aiming to raise $70,000 for this year’s Tour de Rock. Each Co-op independently organizes its own event, from pancake breakfasts to carnivals, in its home community.
“It’s great for staff morale,” says Kerton of the Comox Co-op’s annual fundraiser. “Everyone – our staff and our members – wants to feel they belong to an organization that is truly a part of the community and contributing to goals that we all share.
“Collectively, it adds up to a lot,” he adds. “It’s not always easy to raise money for the big issues, like cancer. But by working together in a combined effort we can make a significant positive impact. That’s what the Co-op is all about. We serve the community, we’re owned by the community and we support initiatives that benefit the community.”
The partnership between Vancouver Island Co-op and Cops for Cancer began five years ago and has been beneficial for both parties, says Kerton.
“The Tour de Rock fits perfectly with our philosophy of giving back to our communities,” he says. “It supports a cause everyone can relate to. Everyone’s life has been touched by cancer in one way or another. We’ve all experienced this disease, either personally or through a friend or relative.”
Since its inception in 1998, the Tour de Rock has raised more than $15 million for research into pediatric cancer and for programs for child cancer patients and survivors.
This year’s ride starts in Port Alice on Sept. 24. When the 22 riders, all from law enforcement supplemented by a few media members, pass through the Comox Valley on Sept. 28, they plan to make an appearance at Comox Co-op.