TOUR de ROCK: Hitting close to home

Comox Mounties have many people they’re riding for in battle against cancer

James Matsuda

Steve Trevor is riding for Griffyn who, despite having yet to reach his first birthday, has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy.

James Matsuda is riding on behalf of several people – including his late father – who have succumbed to or are battling cancer.

Both are part of the 22-person Canadian Cancer Society Cops For Cancer Tour de Rock team that will cycle the length of Vancouver Island this fall.

Trevor, an RCMP constable who grew up in Port Alberni, has volunteered at previous Cops For Cancer red serge events. This winter, the tour hit close to home when Griffyn – whose parents are fellow Mounties at the Comox Valley RCMP detachment – was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer.

Doctors removed one of Griffyn’s adrenal glands as a newborn. By seven months, the youngster was already on his fourth round of chemotherapy.

“I’ve wanted to do the tour for a few years,” said Trevor, a father of two daughters. “I’ve been here seven years now. This year it became personal with Griffyn.”

Matsuda, an auxiliary officer for three years, is the produce supervisor at Thrifty Foods in Courtenay. He works alongside fellow auxiliary RCMP member Rick Gaiga, who rode last year in honour of Christine Buijs, a Thrifty colleague and tour fundraiser who passed away from brain cancer.

Matsuda and his wife Belinda, who was active in Gaiga’s fundraising efforts, have both lost a father to cancer. Matsuda’s brother-in-law and another Thrifty co-worker are also stricken with a form of the disease.

“It’s one of these things that’s affected so many people,” said Matsuda, 45, a native of Ashcroft who moved to Courtenay in 1986. “It’s hard. So many people out there.”

The father of four teenagers is inspired by the tour’s mandate to raise money for pediatric cancer research and programs such as Camp Goodtimes for children with a history of cancer.

“You see grownups going through it, but now you see kids trying to go through it; it’s just not fair,” Matsuda said. “It’s a hard thing. But it’s a good cause, and that’s why we’re doing it.”

“It’s an honour to do,” Trevor added. “It’s been a challenge balancing work.”

Their journey started with weekly training sessions in March that increased to three times a week over the past four months. Along with other North Island team members, Trevor and Matsuda completed a tough climb to the top of Mount Washington.

Trevor, who had done a “bit of mountain biking” before signing on with the tour, recalls the average time was an hour-and-a-half from the chain-up area to the top.

“Most of us, we haven’t really been on a road bike, so it’s a new experience,” Matsuda said.

 

Just Posted

Victoria Beer Week celebrates ‘five years of cheers’

Nine day craft beer festival delves into home brew workshops, food pairings, and a road trip to Sooke

Transit open houses on better Peninsula bus service

SIDNEY — Improved BC Transit services to West Sidney and to the… Continue reading

Victoria Orchid Society hosts 30th annual show

Orchids in full bloom March 3 and 4 at Our Lady of Fatima Hall

Free public lecture timed with scientific meeting in Sidney

Oceanographer Gregory Johnson speaks on the robots that monitor ocean temperature and salinity

Victoria playing host to regional farm market conference

Food industry experts to attend three-day networking event, which is open to the public

The 2018 B.C. Games wrap up in Kamloops

The B.C. Winter Games comes to a close after a weekend of fun and excitment

Naval ship spills 30,000 litres of fuel in the Strait of Georgia

HMCS Calgary spilled fuel east of Nanaimo and Parksville on Saturday

Student Voice: Phones in school a tool for learning or weapon of mass distraction?

Spectrum student questions role of smart phones in school

Library’s French collection gets $15,000 boost

Provincial grant adds extra French-language materials to Greater Victoria Public Library collection

Spectrum to stage Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Students having fun with laughs in Broadway musical

B.C. boosts support for former youth in government care

More support coming for rent, child care and health care while they go back to school

Saanich skater golden at B.C. Winter Games

Desiree Grubell takes gold, Emily Walzak silver in Special Olympics figure skating.

SMUS stages Catch Me If You Can, the true tale of a con-artist

Musical follows tales of impersonator Frank Abagnale Jr.

B.C. VIEWS: Our not-so-New Democrats don’t rock the boat

Finance Minister Carole James takes the wheel, steers similar course

Most Read