Oak Bay High students in front of a successful bottle and can drive, Saturday at Oak Bay High for Tour de Rock Cops for Cancer. See story on page A3. (John Horwood Photo)

Oak Bay High students do their best for COVID-19 Tour de Rock

Cops for Cancer riders set finish a different kind of Tour de Rock

Even during pandemic, there will be a head shave and a visit to Oak Bay High by Tour de Rock riders.

And the Horwood brothers’ red locks will fly.

Rather than pull their hair out trying to live up to Oak Bay High’s annual Cops for Cancer fundraising expectations during the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grade 12 twins Chris and John Horwood are opting to shave it off.

The two are leading the fundraising campaign this year, a tradition that raised $76,000 last year and has hit $90,000 before. While this year’s fundraising group might not hit as big a number this year they’re doing surprisingly well, John said.

READ MORE: Oak Bay High students raise $76,000 for Tour de Rock

“The students [volunteering] for Cops for Cancer are doing their best,” John said. “We did have the best car wash ever. The numbers are still coming in but it was the biggest.”

One of the biggest challenges was canceling the Oak Bay High Garage Sale this year. Another was the limitations on door-to-door canvassing, where a bulk of donations come from.

Saturday’s rainy day bottle drive at Oak Bay High was also impressive.

“It was crazy busy from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.,” John said. “We rarely went 30 seconds between cars pulling in to drop off bottles and cans.”

READ ALSO: Oak Bay High students shave heads for Cops for Cancer

To help, the two brothers are joining the many others in shaving their heads on Wednesday (Sept. 30). It will be a closed-door head shave this year, with only a pod of one or two friends or family allowed to join each student. In years past, the gym would be buzzing not only with clippers but the support of hundreds of students eager to experience the emotional reaction of students having their hair liberated from their scalp.

Always competitive when it comes to the sibling rivalry, John started his own head shave campaign before his brother and as of Monday, John was up to $1,800.

“I started earlier but Chris made $750 in the last two days so he’s catching up,” John said.

The annual cheque presentation will be made to a group of Tour de Rock alumni who will stop outside the school on Friday for a smaller, socially distanced visit this year, as the annual campaign wraps up a different kind of Tour.

Don Devenney, an alumni rider for Tour de Rock 2020, was one of the first to arrive at Sooke’s SEAPARC Leisure Complex parking lot on Wednesday morning, but in a car rather than a bike.

This year, the riders have been biking a relay across the Island. Most of the riders drove to Sooke to bike to Langford on Sept. 30. Devenney drove past the Malahat after he rode through the Cowichan Valley with Tuesday’s team.

“We’ve been saying that this year is Tour-ish de Rock,” joked Devenney, who rode the nearly 1,000-kilometre trek for pediatric cancer research in 2008.

“We’re so glad to see people waving and honking as we pass by, but it’s definitely a different kind of rally versus before [the pandemic]. One thing is for sure, the need [for childhood cancer research] hasn’t gone away.”

Another team of riders will head to Sidney today before completing their trek on Oct. 2 in downtown Victoria.

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— with a file from Aaron Guillen

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

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