As the 2022 edition of the Cops for Kids Ride wrapped up in Kelowna Sunday, those welcoming them back from their 1,000-kilometre cycling journey around the Southern Interior included a local family that has benefited from the program.
Brian Blakely presented a $300 cheque to the organization that has helped finance their stay in Vancouver, where young son Andrew has been undergoing cancer treatment. Andrew and his sister raised the money through a bottle drive.
Blakely said the expenses associated with living away from home for months are huge.
“Having an organization like Cops For Kids to kick in too. Without it…you need it. You need that support from the community. And that’s why we do as much as we can now. I’m sort of an advocate. We learned and now we try to pass our knowledge to everybody else,” he noted.
Some of the riders have had personal experiences with the services provided by Cops For Kids, including Cpl. Ryan Danilowich of the Kelowna RCMP, whose eight-year-old triplets were there to welcome him home.
“Our three girls, triplets, were born at 28 weeks. So, we were down in Children’s Hospital for about five months. They were all born premature. Our smallest one was 600 grams and our two others were 1,000 grams,” explained Cpl. Danilowich.
He adds that it’s nice to be able to go back on the ride and give back.
This year’s tour raised more than $375,000. That should be enough money to continue helping families with sick children well into 2023.
“But, we’re seeing a significant increase in our grant requests, just due to the economy and things that are happening,” said the president of Cops For Kids, retired South East District RCMP Supt. Brent Mundle. “So, we’re helping more and more families each year as we continue.”
The Cops For Kids Charitable Foundation was created in 2001 to raise funds to support children in need in the communities that we serve. The ten-day ride is the signature event, but the foundation also organizes various other fundraising functions to ensure grants for children and their families are available throughout the year.