Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps joined Fire Chief Paul Bruce to see off members of the Victoria Fire Department prior to their ride to the B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Victoria firefighters bike to B.C. Children’s Hospital to surprise coworker, daughter diagnosed with cancer

Firefighters will leave for Vancouver at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday

Members of the Victoria Fire Department (VFD) gathered at the Bay Street Fire Station early Wednesday morning, before riding to Vancouver to support a fellow firefighter and his daughter who is undergoing treatment for an advanced stage of cancer.

Members of the VFD will ride from downtown Victoria all the way to the B.C. Children’s Hospital on the mainland to show their support forTodd Thompson and his daughter, Chloe. Thompson has been a member of the department’s Ride to Conquer Cancer cycling team for the past three years, helping to raise more than $315,000.

Fire Chief Paul Bruce and Mayor Lisa Helps were there to help send off the 17 cyclists and three drivers as they departed for the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

Bruce says the whole department became “paralyzed” when they head the news of Chloe’s diagnosis, which quickly turned into “what can we do?” In addition to the show of support, Victoria firefighters will present a donation to the Thompson family during the visit.

“[Chloe] is going to be spending a long time in Vancouver — so she can go out and buy herself some clothes or do whatever she wants to do with the money just to get some time away from the hospital when she’s able.”

READ ALSO: Victoria Fire Department raises $93,000 for Ride to Conquer Cancer

Bruce called Chloe a very courageous young women, explaining one of the ways she’s been dealing with her diagnosis.

“You can write on the walls and in great big letters, she has written ‘no crying in my room.’ She’s got a big fight ahead of her and that’s all we’re trying to do is support her the best we can in that fight,” says Bruce.

Helps called the efforts of the VFD inspiring, adding that she wishes the Thompson family all the best.

Members of the Victoria Fire Department prepare to ride all the way from the Bay Street Fire Station to the B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver to show their support for a fellow firefghter and his daughter, who is undergoing cancer treatment. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

RELATED: Community rallies around young Langford soccer player with cancer diagnosis

“Vic Fire is like family and when one person child is sick it’s almost as if everyone’s child is sick,” she says. “It’s inspiring to see their efforts and I think the family will be very honoured when these guys show up on mass in Vancouver later today.”

Representatives from the Richmond RCMP, Richmond Fire Rescue, Victoria Police Department and the Vancouver police and fire departments will help escort the convoy as it wheels toward the hospital.

READ ALSO: Cancer leading cause of death for firefighters, B.C. study finds

Many of the same firefighters taking part in Wednesday’s ride will also take part in the BC Cancer Foundation Ride to Conquer Cancer this August, to help raise money to improve the lives of others facing cancer.

Jeff Cullen, one of the VFD riders, says his biggest message for the Thompson family is “we’re here for you.”

“If you need anything, pick up the phone and call us,” says Cullen. “Our firefighter family is very close, so even though things like this take some effort, it’s not much of an ask at all. At the drop of the hat, we’re willing to help with anything.”



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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Fire Chief Paul Bruce and Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps share a word before members of the fire department set off towards the Swartz Bay ferry terminal. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

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