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The Value of Volunteering

Coast Capital has been the Tour Sponsor of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cops for Cancer tours, which raises funds for pediatric cancer research and caring support programs like Camp Goodtimes, for 22 years.  As a long-time employee of Coast Capital I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in this vital campaign since the beginning and have seen its impact first-hand.

I have also personally known families who have gone through a childhood cancer journey. Seeing their vulnerability, what they go through, and how brave they are motivates me to help in any way I can.

This is why, on top of my involvement through Coast Capital, I’ve also been volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Tour de Rock since 2012.

Volunteering in my community gives me a sense of belonging and purpose and lets me meet people and help others while making an impact on my community. But most importantly, I do it for the kids and their families. I feel fortunate to work for an organization that empowers employees to volunteer with causes like the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cops for Cancer tours.

What is Cops for Cancer?

Cops for Cancer is a partnership between the Canadian Cancer Society, local law enforcement, and emergency services personnel who raise funds for pediatric cancer research and caring support programs like Camp Goodtimes by cycling long distances through local communities over the course of 2 weeks.

Each year, Coast Capital teams raise money through silent auctions, paper bike sales, bake sales, head shaves and so much more to help support the cause.  Last year with the help of our members we raised over $150,000 for this important cause.

I participate in local events and fundraisers while also volunteering with the Westshore Cops for Cancer Gala Event which takes place at the end of Tour de Rock.

What I do as a volunteer

My team organizes the Gala Event at the end of Tour de Rock, which is a “welcome back” event for the riders when they arrive in Victoria.  We meet the riders, hear their stories, listen to guest speakers, enjoy dinner, and partake in fundraising auctions.  All the funds go towards pediatric cancer research and sending kids who have been affected by cancer to Camp Goodtimes so they can have a chance to have fun and meet other kids who are going through their cancer journey.

We meet regularly ahead of the event to plan the Gala and come up with ways to help fundraise and make the event enjoyable for all of the guests.  We also promote the event within our own communities by selling tickets, looking for sponsors and reaching out to businesses for auction items.

On the day of the big event, I work with the team to help make sure everything runs smoothly. We set up the venue, collect tickets and donations for the auctions, and help people find their seats. It’s not always easy but it’s always worth it.

Why I do it

My favourite part is knowing that I’m contributing to such a worthy cause. For me, it’s all about the kids. They didn’t ask for this. They and their families are going through so much.

I’ve had quite a few impactful moments while volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society but meeting the junior riders is always special for me. Junior riders are kids who are going through their cancer journey. They’re paired with a local rider who’s on a regional tour. They go to tour stops and support their rider forming a lifelong bond with them. It’s their stories that me proud to be a part of such a great community.

A couple of years ago we had a guest speaker at the Gala event who was a junior rider and survivor of childhood cancer.  She spoke about the lasting memories of her experience with a rider, the opportunity to go to camp and all the people she met along the way. It made me understand how important this experience is for these kids and the impact it has on their lives. This realization keeps me coming back year after year.

Why it’s important for people to volunteer

The best part of volunteering is knowing that you are making a difference.  Personally, I feel that if you’re fortunate enough to be able to give back you should.

And volunteering isn’t just about giving. People forget that you get something in return. When you volunteer it gives you a sense of purpose and pride because you’re making an impact. Your time counts toward something bigger than you.

I’m so fortunate that my family understands when I have to miss their events to volunteer. They know it is something I am passionate about and they are proud that I am giving back. I want to be an example for my kids.

If you can give back to the community, just do it. If we’re in a position to help then we are very fortunate.

Every volunteer makes a huge impact.


Stop by your local branch to make a donation or donate online to your regional tour – Tour de Valley, Tour de Coast, and Tour de Rock.

Francine Dowie

Francine Dowie

Assistant Manager, Member Services

Francine has over 34 years of experience in the financial services industry—27 of those at Coast Capital. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with family and being outdoors. Her purpose is to be supportive, encouraging and kind to everyone she meets. Follow Francine on LinkedIn.

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