If you come out to cheer on the Cops for Cancer this September, you may meet John Togyi, whose son Avery celebrated four years cancer free this July. Togyi is a community paramedic in Fort St. James, and he now volunteers on the medical support team for the Cops for Cancer Tour de North cyclists (all first responders) who do the ride to raise funds for childhood cancer research and support services.
“These riders are going out there to experience the challenges families face when they receive a cancer diagnosis. I lived that — I’m still living with it, because even though my son is cancer free, he still has long term health effects — so I feel I can help, and show my appreciation,” Togyi says.
When traditional treatments didn’t work, Avery received groundbreaking treatment which has since been used to help treat other children.
“The doctors explained that treatments that work on children can easily be scaled up to adults, but not necessarily the other way around. That’s one of the reasons childhood cancer research is so important, because it helps everyone.”
All proceeds from Cops for Cancer go to pediatric cancer research, as well as support programs like Camp Goodtimes.
“When our family was there it was absolutely wonderful. Avery was pretty weak, physically, but they made sure he always had support. As a paramedic I always keep an eye out to help, but the staff at Camp Goodtimes were on top of everything. It gave time for the adults to talk, and share what we’ve been through.”
Togyi says it’s now an immense privilege to be able to give back, and he’s grateful to have his employer’s support when volunteering with Cops for Cancer.
Changing the lives of children with cancer
Every year, Cops for Cancer hosts four fundraising cycle tours in support of childhood cancer research and support services at the Canadian Cancer Society: Tour de North from Prince George to Prince Rupert, Tour de Valley in the Fraser Valley, Tour de Coast in Metro Vancouver, and Tour de Rock on Vancouver Island. Law enforcement and emergency services personnel have raised $52 million through cycling tours and other fundraising events.
Thanks, in part, to advancements in cancer research funded by the Canadian Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate from childhood cancer has improved from about 71 per cent in the 1980s to 84 per cent today. But cancer is still the number one cause of disease-related death in Canadian children, so funding further research is still incredibly important.
Proceeds from Cops for Cancer fundraisers also fund caring support programs that help children diagnosed with cancer thrive, not just survive. These programs help children and their families create memories and reduce the impact of cancer treatments over the decades ahead.
Cops for Cancer 2023 presenting sponsor Applewood Auto Group is proudly providing support vehicles for each tour and joining the fundraising efforts with a company-wide head shave challenge. A portion of proceeds from all September vehicle sales will also be donated to Cops for Cancer.
How to help:
- Donate: Support a participant, or give a general donation to Cops for Cancer.
- Support the raffle: Win a Rocky Mountaineer journey, WestJet flights or a Vancouver Luxury Weekend. Purchase tickets at rafflebox.ca/raffle/ccs-bc.
- Cheer on the riders: Follow along on social media for daily updates, and cheer on participants when they ride through your community!