A rumble of applause, loud cheers and the beating of drums from the Spectrum Marching Band welcomed the 2018 Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team to the Saanich school gym on Friday.

A total of 22 riders from Vancouver Island are training three times a week for a two-week, 1,100 kilometre ride that raises money to fight pediatric cancer and send children who have or are battling the cruel disease and their families to Camp Goodtimes.

“I think the energy was just incredible,” said the Canadian Cancer Society’s, Jan Buehler, about the Friday launch. “The kids bring so much energy, so much enthusiasm... They get it. They understand we’re trying to make a difference.”

This year’s team includes police officers, paramedics, firefighters, members of the media and a former school principal.

Rob House recently retired from Spectrum and was a surprise announcement to all his former students.

“It was a secret worth keeping,” said House. “The kids’ reaction: Amazing.”

Before the 2018 team made their way through the Spectrum School gym to receive their training jerseys and bikes – students at the school were already busy getting their fundraising campaign going.

A Spectrum teacher and student – who are also father and son – had their head’s shaved in support of the cause.

“It’s just so inspiring for others and I feel like doing it with my dad is probably the best thing I could do to get awareness out for a cure for cancer,” said grade 12 student, Sebastien Schwartz, mid-shave.

“We [have] to be part of something bigger than ourselves,” added his father Rene Schwartz. “And this is one way that we can do this.”

Since 1998, the Tour has raised almost $24 million for the Canadian Cancer Society. After seven months of training, the Tour starts with a dinner in Port Alice September 22. The riders then depart the following day making their way down the island to Victoria by October 5.

See the full list of 2018 riders below:

  • Benjamin Leah – Port Hardy RCMP
  • Nicole Emery – Oyster River Fire Rescue
  • Jon De Roo – 97.3 The Eagle
  • Andrew Quinn – Courtenay Fire
  • Allison Roberts – RLC Parks Services
  • Amanda McRae – BCAS & Tofino Fire
  • Shane Coubrough – Nanaimo RCMP
  • Trevor Nettleton – Nanaimo RCMP
  • Matt Arnsdorf – CFB Esquimalt Fire
  • Antoine Leblanc – Military Police Unit Esquimalt
  • Kyle Ross – West Shore RCMP
  • Brent Vose – West Shore RCMP
  • Jay Krieger – Victoria Airport Fire
  • Ian Hynes – VicPD
  • Mike Sherman – VicPD
  • Michael Johnston – VicPD
  • Derek Tolmie – VicPD
  • Dane Nicholson – Saanich Police
  • Michael Welle – Saanich Police
  • Greg Stubbs – BC Ambulance Service
  • Yvonne Raymond – CTV Vancouver Island
  • Rob House – Spectrum School (retired)