Spectrum principal gears up for a cause

Five-day, 500-kilometre trek will raise funds for Tour de Rock

Rob House

He may not be able to give blood, but Rob House will be putting a lot of blood, sweat and tears into his own 500-kilometre ride in support of the Tour de Rock.

The Spectrum Community School principal is already well into his five-day trek from Port Hardy to Saanich, raising money for the upcoming Tour de Rock. The inspiration behind his personal journey is three-fold, as a way to support those living with cancer, honour those who’ve beaten it, and remember those who lost their lives to it.

“A couple things kind of happened,” said House prior to the ride. “We have a parent, Mena Westhaver, who is a guest rider. She has four boys, one of whom is a cancer survivor.”

When Westhaver told House about her son Jack’s battle with cancer and her involvement with Tour de Rock, he said that got the wheels turning, so to speak, on how he could raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“In the meantime, I’d been thinking of going to the north end of the Island anyway,” he said. “My wife and I were going to do a bit of travel.

“I’ve been cycling most of my life – not competitively, I’m a weekend warrior – so I thought it would be neat if I could ride parts of it and turn it into a bit of a fundraiser in support of Tour de Rock.”

The second part of the inspiration are his friends and family who have survived cancer, namely his mother and her husband, who each beat the disease.

“My mom is a survivor of breast cancer twice – she’s a fighter anyway,” said House. “Her husband just came out of prostate surgery with flying colours.”

Lastly, House said he wants to honour the memory of John Fawcett, an educator in the school district for more than 30 years, who passed away in 2014 after a seven-year battle with multiple myeloma, a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cells.

“He’s a good buddy of mine who wasn’t so lucky,” said House. “He was a great principal. We worked together for four years at Mount Doug.”

After Fawcett’s death, the Victoria Principals and Vice-Principals Association started an annual blood drive in his honour. House said he couldn’t donate the first year as he had recently been on a cruise in Mexico, and new rules around the Zika virus delayed his donation in the second year as he had just returned from a trip to Hawaii.

When he went to donate a few weeks later, he psyched himself out, noting he has a history of getting light-headed or fainting from previous attempts to give blood.

“I was just so disappointed,” recalled House. “I really wanted to do this in honour of John.

“Even the nurse said, ‘I just don’t think you’re a candidate for giving blood. Maybe there’s something else you could do.’ That’s what crystallized turning riding from Port Hardy to Victoria into my own little Tour de Rock and raise some funds.”

Between online donations, cash and cheques, House already has raised more than $3,500, well beyond his expectations. And while 500 kilometres in five days is going to be a “tough grind,” he said his training has prepared him for the long haul.

“People tell me, ‘You could take longer,’ but it’s got to be a challenge,” he said. “I wanted it to be a struggle, so I wanted to do it in a shorter period of time.”

Donations are still open for House’s ride. To donate or for more information on the trek, visit http://bit.ly/2aK5gld (case sensitive

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Seven baths in two days’: Homeless adjusting to life in hotels

Victoria passes motion to allow camping 24-7 in parks until June 25

Langford Fire calm mother and daughter after being trapped in elevator

Three-year-old girl given stuffed animal to calm nerves

Capital Regional District prepares to reopen regional campgrounds

Camping will look different at Island View, Sooke Potholes, Jordan River sites

Victoria traffic stop yields drugs, case full of weapons

Police seize firearms, swords and flares

Colwood hosts pandemic recovery roundtable discussion

Attendees must RSVP for virtual meeting on May 29 from 1 to 3 p.m.

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read