Cops for Cancer rides through Leeds County

Sgt. Dayne Campbell, of the Vancouver Police Department, is cross-country cycling to help raise awareness for Canadian Cancer Society’s Cops for Cancer Program. Campbell’s daughter was diagnosed six months ago. Here, Campbell takes a brief break at the Leeds County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police in Lansdowne on Friday, June 14, 2024. (KEITH DEMPSEY/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)

Sgt. Dayne Campbell, of the Vancouver Police Department, thought he’d be going on his cancer-fighting cross-country cycling journey on his own, but several members of different emergency services agencies throughout the country have joined in along the way.

That includes the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands Fire Department, Leeds County Ontario Provincial Police, and township officials like Mayor Corinna Smith-Gatcke, who welcomed Campbell during his brief stop at the Leeds OPP detachment in Lansdowne on Friday afternoon.

These emergency service workers clapped and congratulated Campbell as he cycled into the detachment’s parking lot; they handed him and his supporters water, then gave words of encouragement before Campbell started towards Brockville, where he arrived later in the afternoon.

Campbell, 46, is riding for Cops for Cancer, for pediatric research.

Campbell is a husband, father of two, a long-time VPD member, and dedicated member of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cops for Cancer Program. In 2023 Dayne celebrated his 15th year participating in Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast, and in that time, he has cycled over 12,000 kilometers, personally raised over $140,000, worked with community connections to raise almost $700,000, and as a member of the Tour De Coast Team he can say they have raised over $5 million in support of pediatric cancer research and Camp Goodtimes.

Campbell’s only connection to children’s cancer was initially limited to the people he met through the Cops for Cancer program. However, in late 2023, his personal connection to pediatric cancer was dramatically changed forever, when his own teenage daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called myxoid liposarcoma.

“So, I figured I’d do this, do as much as I can for the cause,” said Campbell of his now-16-year-old daughter. “She’s all the motivation I need. As a parent, you know the things you’d do to protect them. When your daughter gets diagnosed with cancer, there’s not much you can do but be there for them and hope that the medical professionals do a good job, which they do, and all I can do as a police officer is put the helmet on, bike and raise awareness for the cause.

“I’m looking forward to going back home but I’ve got a ways to go.”

The end goal is for Campbell to travel to Halifax, reaching the Atlantic Ocean within 55 to 60 days.

He’ll likely get there in time, reaching his goal, but he’s not going to complete his goal alone like he originally expected.

“I’ve been getting a lot of support,” said Campbell. “There’s been a ton of police officers, even our local fire departments, and it’s been great. My original thought behind this was that it was going to be a solo event, with bags on my bike, as I cycled across Canada, knocking on doors at different agencies to tell them about the wonderful program we have with the Canadian Cancer Society, called Cops for Cancer.

“I thought I’d be by myself but within a short period of time the policing community and first responders across all the provinces, especially Ontario, have created a snowball effect and it’s been an overwhelming amount of support.”

Like members of the Niagara Falls Regional Police Department, Kingston Police Service and the Canadian Cancer Society, who tagged along for Campbell’s Friday stroll, about 20-strong.

Friday marked Day 40 of Campbell’s journey.

“I feel pretty good,” said Campbell “It’s Day 40 of probably 55, so I’m well on my way to doing this. I still have a way to go but I’m moving along really well.”

Smith-Gatcke thanked the local emergency services members for their support and wished Campbell well.

“These people give their time, and ultimately, they serve their communities for years, and this is above and beyond, like they go above and beyond every day in the line of work. So, for them to take their personal time to raise funds for such a worthy cause is important and we’re really glad they were able to make a stop here in our township. We’re glad we were able to show up for him and everyone today,” she said.


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