Losing a parent to cancer must be a gut-wrenchingly awful life adjustment at any age.
But at the age of 20, it just seems completely unfair.
Just seven months ago, 20-year-old Dakota Stone, a paramedic with the Vanderhoof ambulance service, was faced with this reality.
Dealing with that loss is a large part of the reason why Stone decided to apply for this years Cops for Cancer Tour de North, which after six days of cycling and nearly 800 kilometers, reached its final destination in Williams Lake today.
Whilst Stone is not a cop (yet) , the team of riders also takes on two paramedics for the ride.
“My father fought a very hard, tough battle with cancer and just for me to imagine kids having to fight the exact same battle that my dad did is just unbelievable,” said Stone.
“So I really wanted to do this ride to make a difference for those kids,” he said.
Another reason why Stone wanted to be involved is because it is his ultimate goal to be in the RCMP.
“My application is in – it just hasn’t been processed yet,” he said.
Stone grew up in Valemount and moved to Prince George two years ago. He had been working for the Valemount ambulance service before recently getting a transfer to Vanderhoof.
“I was really happy to get the transfer here because it’s a lot closer to Prince George so I save a lot on gas, and Vanderhoof also has a much higher call volume than Valemount,” said Stone.
The minimum amount that participants have to fundraise for the cycle is $2,500, however stone set his goal for $5,000 and last Tuesday, three days before the tour started, he had raised $4,935.
Last Tuesday the Vanderhoof ambulance service held an open house for the community to meet Stone and also to show their support for him. They also presented him with a donation cheque.
“I’m really excited to be doing it this year – it’s such great cause and I’m glad to have such great support from the community,” said Stone just days before he departed.
This year the usual route for the Cops for Cancer northern tour changed. The riders, who used to come through Vanderhoof, this year went from Fort St. John to Williams Lake.
The bike tour raises funds for cancer research and support services, in particular it supports a summer recreation program called Camp Good times located in Mission. The camp is for children and youth diagnosed with cancer.
So far collectively, the Cops for Cancer Tour De North team have raised $64,330.88 for the cause.