PVNC Catholic schools cheer on Pedal for Hope

student getting hair trimmed

April 30, 2019

The police cycling ride continues until May 10 in support of children with pediatric cancer

BY Jessica Nyznik, Peterborough Examiner


Kirsten Lynch’s hair wasn’t long enough to donate for a cancer wig, so she shaved for the cause instead.

Kirsten, 11, was the only girl at St. Teresa school to buzz her head during a visit by the Pedal for Hope team.

“My friends think I’m really brave,” the Grade 6 student said.

The Catholic elementary school’s gym was filled with cheers and excitement as police officers put on a show for the school.

Pedal for Hope is a team of officers from the Peterborough Police Service, Durham Regional Police, the OPP, RCMP and GO Transit.

They cycle from school to school to talk about pediatric cancer, collect funds for cancer research raised by students and promote healthy living.

The group also puts on a colourful, lively and humorous show for students each year.

“We like to coin it as organized chaos,” said city police Sgt. John Townsend.

The three-week cycling tour started in Bowmanville on April 17 and wraps up May 10 at North Cavan Public School. The officers have more than 50 stops to make.

The energy, enthusiasm and support from the students is what fuels their journey, Townsend said.

“It’s what keeps you going,” he said.

The stop at St. Teresa was the team’s 17th school so far, and Townsend estimated about $120,000 had already been collected.

Since its inception in 2005, Pedal for Hope has raised about $5.1 million for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“That impact is great for something that we started right here in Peterborough.”

This year, funds will support the cancer research of a doctor at the University of British Columbia and help get a new counselling program off the ground.

The Canadian Cancer Society is developing a family counselling support system for families who have a child with cancer. Services will be available to parents and siblings, for instance, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“There’s a world of behind-the-scenes needs for families,” Townsend said, referring to a need for the mental-health program.

This year, the Pedal for Hope team is riding for 21 children living with cancer or in remission.

Thinking of others going through treatment is what drove young Kirsten to buzz off her locks.

After her shave, she returned to her group of friends, who were cheering and couldn’t wait to run their hands over her head.

Kirsten’s grandmother was also in the audience and videoed the buzzing.

“She said she was really proud of me,” Kirsten said of her grandma.

NOTE: The Pedal for Hope team will be visiting city and county schools on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Monday and May 7, 8 and 10.