Ride for Dad Sunday and raise funds for Prostate Cancer

By Marissa Baecker

“An Army of Chrome and Leather fighting Prostate Cancer” is the slogan for the popular Motorcycle Ride for Dad and in June, 21 of the 30 host cities will be riding for the cause from St. John’s, Newfoundland to the Comox Valley of Vancouver Island. The Okanagan Chapter will ride Sunday, June 10, 2012.

Motorcycle Ride for Dad, like other fundraising rides, initially began as a one time only fundraiser. The inaugural event in Ottawa back in 2000 hosted 80 riders, was supported by a couple of volunteers and raised around $20,000 for prostate cancer research.

Some dozen years later, thirty cities across the country are backing the cause involving over 100,000 contributors and over 300 volunteers. According to the 2010 Annual Report, 1.7 million dollars raised lifted the grand total to approximately 9,000,000.00 for the decade.

Where do the funds raised go? Funds raised go to The Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation – a Motorcycle Ride for Dad registered charity aimed at funding research and awareness for prostate cancer. Applications are made for research grants and funds distributed from the ride proceeds of each area.

Just last week, the Okanagan Chapter donated just over $10,000 to the BC Cancer Foundation.

Dealing with a life threatening illness on your own can be tough but with the help of Ride for Dad, there is a Skype (online) support group for men dealing with the illness or their loved ones needing help.

You don’t have to ride a motorcycle to take part in the festivities. Prostate cancer affects all men so the organization offers the opportunity for everyone to become a Ride for Dad Champion. A champion takes parts just like the riders by gathering donations, registering for the event, which is free for Champions, and then they too become eligible for all prizes and awards including working toward entrance in the Captain’s Club – some 1600 strong nationally.

For the riders it is a great day to get out, enjoy your motorcycle, raise some money and have a great time. For organizers, it is an entire year of planning and  meetings to pull the annual event off.

Kelowna RCMP Cst. Bob Charron is a member of the Ride for Dad Executive and heads up traffic safety for the riders. He and his team of officer’s carefully plan and escort the steady flow of ‘chrome and leather’ down the highway through the city.

One officer constantly leads the riders, who occupy one entire lane, through the city while three remaining motor officers leap frog ahead to the intersections to ensure that all traffic is stopped to maintain the flow of bikes with the assistance of traffic control volunteers.

“I have been involved since the inception of Ride for Dad in Kelowna,” says Cst. Charron. “When we first started the ride, the route was already pre-picked. We rode the course prior to mark or identify any hazards either hard curves, construction, pot holes anything of that sort. From then on, we developed the ride to what it is today. We have shortened it by listening to our riders, some of their concerns, and made it a more family and pleasant ride by incorporating more four-lane roadway. We have also increased the visibility factor for the riders so that they don’t have the hidden curve or short corners.”

In Kelowna, the first 300 registered riders will receive a complimentary lunch.

Riders can download a pledge form from the website – www.motorcycleridefordad.org – gather pledges, challenge one another or corporations and for every $200 raised, receive an entrance into a draw to win either a 2012 Harley-Davidson Sportster or a trip for two to Las Vegas.

Sunday, June 10, the ride begins at Banner Recreation on McCurdy in Kelowna. Registration at 7 a.m., ride at 10 a.m. I will be looking for you.

You can find photos of ride participants by visiting Shoot the Breeze photography – Ride for Dad gallery

Support the Ride for Dad in your area by vising them online www.motorcycleridefordad.org.

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