The powerhouse fundraising event that is the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock kicks off from the tiny northern Vancouver Island community of Port Alice today.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in children under 15 years old and 950 Canadian children are diagnosed with cancer every year.

Last year, the Tour de Rock raised $1,234,002 dollars for pediatric cancer research.

Local rider and North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Constable Dayne Lyons said this tour is so special because the riders have the chance to meet people affected by this disease.

“Not only are we meeting all our sponsors along the way, we’re meeting the people that we’re doing this ride for,” said Lyons. “Every stop along the way has a family member or a child who is suffering from cancer, or someone who lost a loved one to cancer.”

Lyons said, “We have the opportunity to meet people, not only from our own neighbourhood but across the entire island.”

He said the training has been gruelling, it started back in March and riders had to do a hills night, speed night and endurance day every week.

He explains the driving force for him to take part in the Tour de Rock this year.

“Cancer hasn’t affected my family, my family has always been affected by heart disease and I know I’m very lucky to say something like that,” said Lyons. “If anything, the driving force for me to join Tour de Rock is the idea that, hopefully, one day, everyone can say that ‘cancer doesn’t affect my family.”

There is a big Tour de Rock event in Duncan on October 1 and the riders are stopping at Thrifty Foods at Beverly Corners between 1-3 pm.

The Tour de Rock dinner is at the Eagles Hall and tickets for that dinner are available at Coast Capital Savings at Beverly Corners now.