Cops for Kids


2023-09-25 08:39 PDT

The 2023 edition of the Cops for Kids 1,000km ride completed last Sunday as over 20 riders raised much needed funds to help families in the Central Okanagan.

Thanks to a generous last-minute donation from ride sponsor the Thomas Alan Budd Foundation, the grand total of funds raised was $315,000. This money will allow the Cops for Kids Charitable Foundation to continue to assist children in our area that have suffered from a medical, physical or traumatic crisis in their young lives.

The riders on the 2023 team were mostly made up of RCMP officers including Kelowna RCMP’s very own Constable Heather Montagliani who rode for the first time along with Corporal Ryan Danilovich, also with the Kelowna RCMP, who participated for the third time.

Montagliani began training in April, riding several days a week to try and get her body conditioned for roughly 100kms a day during the ride. Unfortunately, the final few weeks before the ride, outdoor training took a backseat when the McDougall Creek fire covered our area with thick smoke and low air quality. Not wanting to fall too far behind, she had to continue to train inside, which wasn’t ideal, but kept up her stamina before embarking on the 10-day ride.

I’ve always wanted to do this ride, she says. For the training part, I needed to break it down so in April I started to ride my bike to work a couple of times a week, then took some longer rides on the weekend. When the fire and all the craziness happened, I had to move indoors and use the bike trainer.

Despite all the training and the time commitment that Montagliani put in, the final product was worth it, The ride was an incredible experience. The first few days were challenging, adjusting to things like the Anarchist hill (Osoyoos), the Blueberry-Paulson (Monashee Mountains) on Day 3, plus getting your legs adjusted to ride 100kms a day. On Day 4, once I settled in, I started to enjoy myself, it was really something. I could stand here and talk about it for hours, but you don’t quite know how it feels until it’s all done.

When asked what her motivation was to getting on a bike and pedalling the 1000kms, Montagliani did not hesitate, The kids…there is no better cause.

As a mother of young kids herself, raising money for Cops for Kids to help families in our community, was a no brainer for Montagliani who wanted to be involved. Every so often on the ride, Gail Harrison, who has done this ride for 19 years, spoke about some of the families we’ve helped. I actually got a chance to meet a young boy in Castlegar who is two years old and he was diagnosed with a very serious form of brain cancer when he was four months old. They stayed at Ronald McDonald House so they were able to keep the family together and Cops for Kids was there to help. So, when you hear their story and you’re complaining about your sore quads, who cares if they are sore suck it up and get up this hill. This climb will pass, but their family journey continues everyday.

For Danilowich, the ride has a personal touch. He and his family spent six months at BC Children’s Hospital nine years ago when his daughters were born at 28 weeks. Our girls weighed roughly 600 grams and 1,000 grams so we went through a couple of operations and saw first hand a lot of the families that were struggling and needed support.

In each of the communities the Cops for Kids riders went through, they had the opportunity to meet with families and the children that have had a direct impact with the money raised by the ride. For the riders on their bike this piece is the most memorable, The best part is meeting the families all the way along the ride, said Constable Ronald George. The ride is secondary, it is so good to get out and do this. The little bit of pain we go through, pales in comparison to what some of these kids are going through. This is our chance to support them and their families.

Since it’s inception in 2001, the Cops for Kids ride has raised millions of dollars for children and their families in the Okanagan. The Foundation is truly devoted to helping little hearts in our community.

To make a donation please visit the Cops for Kids website.

 Ryan Danilowich, Heather Montagliani

Released by

Ryan Sencar

Kelowna RCMP
1190 Richter St, Kelowna, British Columbia V1Y 6V7


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