Hundreds of motorcyclists will converge on Ralph Motorsports in Balzac June 22, to begin the 2019 TELUS Motorcycle Ride for Dad.
“We raise money for prostate cancer research and that's how it all started – doing motorcycle rides to use money for prostate cancer awareness and prostate cancer research. That's the whole objective of what we do,” said David Saxby, a member of the Calgary chapter's board of directors.
This year, the chapter is teaming up with the Rural Alberta chapter for a massive road trip. Saxby said the annual ride brings together riders of all skill levels and ages.
“I also recognize that there are a lot of people that I knew in my age group who were going through some serious problems with cancer and, in fact, we lost a few people,” he said.
According to the Canadian Urological Association Journal, “age is a well-known, significant risk factor for prostate cancer.” Prostate cancer has been detected in men under the age of 40, but it’s usually after the age of 50 that the rates of men with prostate cancer drastically increase.
Thanks to fundraising initiatives like Ride for Dad, research on the disease has paid off. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, “the mortality rate for prostate cancer has been declining since the late 1990s. The decline likely reflects improved treatment.”
The Canadian Cancer Society also estimates while about one in seven Canadian men develops prostate cancer during their lifetime, only one in 29 will die from it.
Saxby said it’s important the funds raised by the Calgary and area chapters stay within the communities they are a part of. That’s why, he said, the group primarily supports the Prostate Cancer Centre in Calgary.
“The key is that people who contribute want to see local results or want to see that they're contributing to something in their own community,” he said. “Rather than sending this off to some national research facility that we've never heard of, we keep it local.”
He added, the event helps bring the riding community together, not only to fundraise and raise awareness, but also to strengthen that community.
“It's nice to bring that many people together to at one time,” Saxby said.
Riders have a powerful comradery and common interest, according to Saxby, and events like Ride for Dad not only bring them together to create a social environment, but enable the riding community to do something good – and possibly change the traditionally negative image of motorcycle enthusiasts.
He said, at past events, as many as 630 riders have participated. This year, the Calgary chapter will begin the ride in Balzac before joining with the Rural Alberta chapter along the route.
Registration costs $30 and is available at ridefordad.ca/calgary or in person at the event starting at 7 a.m. The fee includes the ride, breakfast and lunch.
Since 2000, the Ride for Dad has donated more than $33 million to the Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation, according to its website. The Calgary chapter alone has raised $1.5 million.