Cops Let Good Times Roll

Published Friday, September 18, 2005

The Cops for Cancer Bike Tour is an event designed to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research and camps. The event is a seven to twelve day bicycle ride that buddies an officer from the police, RCMP, or local military, with a child who lives with cancer.

Andrew Tolchard, a recently retired police officer, will be biking in the “Tour de Coast” from September 24th to October 1st. With the help of his Pitt Meadows buddy, Silke Hansen, he hopes to raise $10,000.

Silke displayed the resiliency of children by being a typical energetic nine year old who was more interested in swimming in her pool and showing me her bunnies than talking about her history with cancer. While Silke proudly picked a carrot from her family’s garden to feed to her bunnies her mum explained about their experience with cancer.

A few months before Silke’s third birthday her mum, Susan, noticed that Silke had a rash and took her to the clinic. The rash was indicative of a blood disorder and blood tests were done immediately, confirming that Silke had cancer. Silke was diagnosed with Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, the most common pediatric cancer.

Silke and her family went to the British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, the only facility in BC that offers pediatric oncology. They quickly started Silke on chemotherapy.

Susan was relieved by the team of professionals who worked together to help them through the ordeal. The team was made up of Silke, her family, a pediatric oncologist, nurses with experience in childhood illness, pharmacists, nutritionists, psychologists, social and child life workers, and the family physician. This team helped Silke endear twenty-six months of chemotherapy.

After her long round with chemotherapy Silke was told that she need only come back once every six months for a checkup. This past May Silke was cleared to return just once a year.

During a follow-up appointment Silke was offered an application for Camp Goodtimes. Camp Goodtimes offers children throughout BC, aged 6 to 16, “a camping experience that allows them to take a break from the hospitals and clinics, and magically step back to just being kids.” The camp is held at Loon Lake, a beautiful setting in Malcolm Knapp UBC Research Forest in Maple Ridge. Camp Goodtimes has five week long camps that accommodate more than 250 youths, with the help of fundraisers like the Cops for Cancer Tour.

Silke was coaxed by her parents into going last year for the first time. Siblings are invited to come so Silke’s older sister, Sabrina, went with her. They both had a great time pulling pranks, canoeing, swimming, dancing, and having fun with peers who understand what they have been through.

Susan says “the three fellows that run the camp are quite talented, absolute comedians, they keep the kids laughing. I think they do a great job.”

Silke did not need to be coaxed to go back this year and eagerly awaited the camp. She attended camp in July and had a wonderful time.

A parent of a fellow camper suggested Silke become involved with the Cops for Cancer tour. Silke was buddied with a police officer from North Vancouver last year, and she is excited to have a local buddy this year.

A dinner will be held in Pitt Meadows to raise funds on Wednesday, September 28th. Tickets go on sale in late August. For more information or to buy tickets call Susan at (604) 465•9443. To help Andrew Tolchard reach his goal of $10,000 call him at (604) 626•1977.