Hello Victoria and South Island! My name is Cst. Todd Mason, I am an officer with the Victoria Police Department and I’m so happy to be home!!!
After a filling our tanks with a yummy White Spot breakfast; the day started off early and with a serious bang, quite literally! The first stop was Oak Bay High School where the whole student body met us lining the hallways, mezzanines and filling the gym. There were cheers, screams, signs and confetti poppers! What a way to start the day!!! We entered the gym to a loud and rousing applause and screams. Oak Bay High School put on an amazing welcome and presented us with a cheque for over $63,000! This amount will send 42 kids to Camp Goodtimes. Thank you Oak Bay!
From there we rode to St. Michaels University School to yet another amazing greeting by the student body. What a great and supportive school. From there we rode a while to St. Andrews High School where co-rider Mena Westhaver was met by her amazing family. She has 2 boys attending the school and one of her boys was a graduate. Again, we were blown away by the greeting and heartfelt support.
From this point on it became a bit more personal for me. I was met by my wife Heidi at Colquitz Middle School and upon walking first into the gym we were met by massive hoots, hollers and applause. My son, Sid, was waiting for me as I entered the gym as we had agreed to do a father son head shave together in order to show our support for kids going through cancer treatment. It was a very emotional moment for me and one I’ll never forget. I was able to shave the first strip into my son’s hair and he did mine. It was really cool! We held hands as our heads were shaved. There were other kids who joined in as well, including a schoolmate who went door to door and collected over $200 in order to participate in the head shave. I was unable to speak to this boy and thank him personally, but I intend to speak with him and thank him for his support. The school raised an amazing $4,400 for our cause. This amount will send another 3 kids to camp!
From Colquitz we quickly rode to my daughter’s school, Marigold Elementary, where I have a very solid connection with the student body as I often attend the school in uniform and speak with the kids about many different topics (most of the time the conversation is about my duty belt and the tools on it). We were met with a lot of enthusiasm. I was able to introduce to the students the people with whom have become like family to me, the 2016 Tour de Rock Team. After introductions my daughter presented me with a cheque for $2,100! This was a lot of money for such a small school. Marigold you should be proud!
From this point my kids and my wife were able to join us for the afternoon. My family, who were at every fundraiser supporting and helping, and who raised a fair amount of money of their own, were able to ride in the lead car and the caravan, join me at events and they were able to experience, firsthand, the Tour de Rock experience. My family have supported me 100% these last 6 months and they were blown away by the experience, the generosity and the hard work that everyone has put in. I am very grateful for the support I received from my family and I would not have been able to do this without that unconditional support.
Along the way we were also joined by a number of junior riders: Jake Westhaver, Desiree, Isiah and Marley. It was very meaningful to have them there. They are the reason we are doing what we are doing and having them there made it that more special.
Peninsula Co-op blew us all away with a presentation to Tour of $36,000 and counting.
From there we made our way to Spectrum High School where we were met by a full marching band and drum line. Incredible!!! Spectrum presented a $30,000 cheque. Amazing!!!
We continued on stopping at several school including Glanford Middle School and Claremont High School where, once again, we were blown away by the support
We eventually made our way to Keating Elementary school where rider Janis Carmena was met by her daughter Izzie. The school was smaller, but there enthusiasm was gargantuan!! From there we went to Janis’ sons school Bayside. Bayside school was incredible; raising over $5,000, at which point a female teacher agreed to shave her head! Such incredible support.
From Bayside we rode for a while to Triangle RV to thank them for their support. Triangle RV loaned us a motorhome, which we affectionately called the ‘MoHo’. We thanked the team at Triangle RV and they also presented us with a donation.What great people!
We then rode to Parkland Secondary School where rider Cam Stephen graduated from in 2005. It began to rain, but that did not dampen our spirits.
From there we rode into Sidney and the pier where people were shaving their heads to raise funds. Once there I was asked to shave the head of a co-worker, Heather. She has been a huge supporter of the Tour for a number of years and this was the third year she shaved her head in support.
The other person I met was Sarah. Sarah was shaving her head. Sarah is 15 years old and had long beautiful brown hair. I sat next to Sarah and asked her what brought her down to the pier to shave her head. Sarah told me that her dad, Phil, had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer, he was undergoing chemotherapy treatment, had lost his hair and she wanted to shave her head to support her dad. I was very touched by her story and told her I would sit with her while she shaved her head. I also gave her a huge hug, told her she was an amazing, inspirational person. I thanked her for telling me her story and told her to tell her dad to keep up the fight and there were people supporting him. She hugged me back and we said our goodbyes. Sarah and the conversation I had with her will remain with me. Thank you Sarah.
WHAT’S UP ON FRIDAY, OCT. 7
This is it. The 2016 Tour de Rock winds up with the finale at Centennial Square – thought not before a full day of events around Victoria, Esquimalt and Saanich. Catch them at the Esquimalt Plaza from 9:45-10:15 am. Lots of schools on the agenda — Esquimalt High, St. Joseph’s, Reynolds, Braefoot, Oaklands and Lansdowne – to pump up the weary riders one last time. The Centennial Square celebration begins at 4:30pm, with the team rolling in at 5pm.