7th annual Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad Raises Funds and Awareness on the Open Road
By Carlyn Schellenberg
On Saturday, May 30, over 1,250 motorcycle riders simultaneously revved their engines to embark on the seventh annual Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad. This year’s event, which aims to raise money for prostate cancer research as well as awareness, raised more than $260,000 for the Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation.
The yearly Manitoba event has raised over $1 million since its origin in 2009, but close to 40 Canadian cities organize and participate in their own Ride for Dad events. Ottawa held the first Ride for Dad in 2000, and since then, over 265,000 Canadians have raised more than $13 million through pledges.
The most common type of cancer for Canadian men, prostate cancer tends to affect men over the age of 40. There are 1.2 million Canadian men living with prostate cancer, 80 per cent of whom are unaware they have it. Since prostate cancer symptoms often don’t appear until the cancer has advanced, early detection is key, and can be achieved through a PSA test and physical exam. According to the Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad website, symptoms of prostate cancer include difficulty urinating, a weak flow of urine, pain or burning during urination, blood in the semen or urine, difficulty getting an erection, and frequent pain in the upper thighs, lower back or hips.
New advances in prostate cancer research were reached earlier this year in part due to funds raised by the Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad. Dr. Sabine Mai of the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology led the research project in the development of a new blood test for prostate cancer detection. The blood test will be less invasive than current detection methods.
The Ride for Dad began at Earls Polo Park as a police-escorted parade down Portage Avenue to Red River Exhibition Park, to Selkirk, Gimli, and then back to an awards reception at Cowboys Roadhouse. The Ride for Dad also included a poker derby and lunch in Gimli.
Steve Beauchamp, a member of the Winnipeg Women + Men team, participated in his first Ride for Dad this year, and will also take part in the Manitoba Telus ATV Ride for Dad this September. Beauchamp, who lost his grandfather to prostate cancer, was overwhelmed by the amount of support for the event. “Every rider had a reason and a story to tell on why they take part and support this event,” he said.
For Beauchamp, the most memorable moment of the Ride was the beginning, at 10 a.m., when every motorcycle “roared to life.”
“Portage Avenue was lined with spectators of all ages waving and cheering as we drove by. This was the moment I realized that I was a part of something bigger than I had realized.”
This year’s celebrity ride captains were former Winnipeg Blue Bombers Doug Brown and Obby Khan; St. Boniface MP Shelly Glover; and Winnipeg Jets assistant coach Charlie Huddy. Mayor Brian Bowman, Winnipeg Police Service Chief Devon Clunis, and Winnipeg Police Association president Maurice Sabourin assisted with the official start of the Ride. Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries was the regional presenting sponsor, and Telus was the national sponsor. In addition to numerous sponsors, the Ride for Dad was supported by the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, the Winnipeg Police Service, the Winnipeg Police Association, and the RCMP.
In a press release, Ride for Dad spokesperson and prostate cancer survivor Ed Johner praised the volunteers, riders and sponsors involved in the event. “It is very gratifying for our organizing committee to see the support Manitobans provide the Ride for Dad as well as our tremendous media partners who spread the word about the importance of early detection of prostate cancer.”
Of the support for prostate cancer research in this province, he said, “We are truly helping save lives.”
Thank you to Adventure Power Products for their help in making Winnipeg Women + Men’s participation in the Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad possible. Adventure
Power Products, Suzuki’s newest Manitoba motorcycle dealership, provided Winnipeg Women + Men’s own Steve Beauchamp with a 2015 Suzuki M109R B.O.S.S. to participate in the event. The ride would not have been possible without their generosity. Visit adventurepowerproducts.com, your one-stop power sports shop for more products and equipment from power sports, marine, turf and landscape, to trailers, parts, accessories, helmets and clothing!
All clothing and riding gear supplied by Importations Thibault Ltée www.importationsthibault.com
The Manitoba Telus ATV Ride for Dad takes place on September 12, and includes a poker run and prizes. Contact Jim Backus at 204-330-3492 or firstname.lastname@example.org for details.