Cops for Kids arrived in Vernon to a crowd of cheering supporters and family members Saturday afternoon.
More than 20 RCMP officers and other support crew stepped off their bikes in front of Boston Pizza to take a well-deserved breather, and to meet with some of the children and families who’ve been helped by their efforts.
The riders have one more leg to go in their 1,000-kilometre journey: on Sunday, their 10th day of riding, they’ll head out for Lake Country before finishing in Kelowna.
Cst. Nick Reimann of the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP is back for his sixth year as a Cops for Kids rider.
“It’s something that I really believe in, and more and more as I do it I keep wanting to come back.”
On Friday Reimann said the team had been battling tough (or at any rate, wet) weather conditions since after the first day, but was grateful for a developing tailwind that made the grind easier that day.
“Every little bit that can help, we’ll take it,” he laughed, speaking over the phone before the group headed to Kamloops.
‘Every little bit helps’ also rings true when it comes to donations, and families like the Calders are grateful for the support. Five-year-old Olive Calder communicates with the help of an eye-gaze computer, but she needed a mount for the computer screen to her wheelchair to be able to communicate on the go or at school. Cops for Kids provided funding to equip her wheelchair with what it needed.
“Nothing’s really that cheap for us with the amount of gear we always need, so just a little extra help was great,” said Holly Calder, Olive’s mother.
It was the second cycling fundraiser to hit Vernon streets Saturday, as the Lake2Lake Ride for Rwanda got rolling earlier in the day.
Participating riders need to fundraise at least $2,500 by the beginning of the race, but Reimann says the funding he’s received has well exceeded that number.
“We even had people who just pulled aside on the highway … and their arms came out and $20 was handed to us. So there’s fundraising happening even when we’re on our bikes!” he said.
Presented by the Kelowna Foundation for Hope and Social Innovation, Cops for Kids has raised more than $5.5 million since it began. To track the team’s journey or to make a donation, visit copsforkids.org.