Feature Story                                                                                                 Monday June 1, 2011

Running Down Disease

Ride To Live raises spirits, awareness and cash for the cause

Craig Hill/Voice photos


Some of the 150 bikes that showed up Sunday for the Ride to Live prostrate cancer fundraiser.

n Sunday, the 2nd Annual Ride to Live for prostrate cancer left Eagle Landing Walmart for Cloverdale where they rendezvoused for a barbeque lunch with hundreds of others riders who left from Trev Deeley's in Vancouver.

The local event, sponsored in part by 98.3 Star Fm, brought out approximately 150 Chilliwack motorcyclists and two-by-two the bikes and trikes lined up in the store's parking lot. Even a rider with dog in a sidecar joined the parade to post.

Over at the property line, the 15th Artillery Regiment melted into the trees with a howitzer, ready to kick start the ride off with some real punch.

Chilliwack and Abbotsford Fire Departments had their big trucks out and ladders fully extended with a large colourful banner strung between them that marked the lot entrance like an arbour to a corral of gleaming iron horses.

O'Connor brought out their big flat deck which doubled as the stage and also as backup in the case a rider has mechanical trouble along the way.

The big voice of Emcee Roy Hafley got the crowd pumped up prior to the ride and popular local singer Debbie Bergeron added a mellifluous rendition of the national anthem.

The primary reason for the ride is to raise money for Prostate Cancer Research, Education & Support in B.C. It's also a chance to bring together a group of men, some suffering from the disease and others who have battled it in the past, along with their friends, families and others who just want to offer their support.

Aside from the thrill of the ride and the camaraderie the men and women participating enjoy, there's the spectacle of over 1000 motorcycles rallying for a common cause that has the presence to significantly raise awareness about prostrate cancer and along the way they raise some serious coin.

The ride's Financial Executive Officer, Bryan McPherson, told the Voice in an email Monday, that in total, the event raised $140,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, adding that it was a "great success" for an inaugural ride in the city.

"The Chilliwack event was it's first year and we expect many more riders next year," said McPherson. "We had many people from the Chilliwack area volunteering for the event including the Chilliwack Prostate Cancer group."

Bob Reed, Executive Director of the Chilliwack Ride to Live and RCMP liaison officer told the Voice Sunday that this year they changed it up to make it easier on the Chilliwack bikers who did the ride last year and they hope to get more people involved with an additional location.

"Last year, a lot of the people here drove all the way into Trev Deely's, then came all the way out to Harrison Hot Springs for lunch. Then they drove all the way to the final wrap up in Richmond and later had to drive home in the rain," said Reed. "It made it for a long day so we decided to shorten it up just a little bit and instead of about a 260km route, it's a 150km route, so people should be done, finished and headed home by about 3 pm.

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz marveled at the bikes saying she "loved them" and thanked the riders for their caring.

She delivered the grim statistics that each year 25,500 men are diagnosed with prostrate cancer and 4100 don't live out the year.

"1-in-7 diagnosed will not make it through, so I just want to say a huge heartfelt good luck to those who are struggling with prostrate cancer and have had that diagnosis, and a huge thank you to those of you who think it's unacceptable for people to have to live with this disease and are looking really hard to find a cure," she said.

"So to the moms and the grandmothers, the aunties and everyone, the kids, the daughters, the sons who are standing behind their dad, good on you, keep cheering them on. For you who have worked so hard to raise money, God bless you, thank you so much for your heart and your dedication to make sure that there is a cure for this terrible disease, thank you very much."

When Executive John Sowik Officer with the Westcoast Motorcycle Ride To Live (Chilliwack) took the stage he talked about his own diagnosis saying it's vital to see the doctor for an exam yearly.

"I was diagnosed a year ago with prostrate cancer, I'm 46, and I just turned 48 this year, I just want to say to everybody to get yourself checked, just do it."

Sowik encouraged people to volunteer next year and added that there is always room for more sponsors saying its the power of numbers which makes the difference.

"The more people, the better and the quicker we can get a cure."


About Singer/Songwriter/Producer Debbie Bergeron

Bergeron uses her talent to bring awareness and fundraising for various community groups and agencies. She has received numerous awards, however her greatest reward has come from charities and families who thank her for writing songs that recognize women's abuse as well as murdered and missing women, the homeless and the hungry. She has aslo donated the use of one of her songs to the BCSPCA which has released a national campaign in 2010. For more information about her CD's or bookings visit: www.debbiebergeron.com


Related Links
Listen to John Sowik's story on how he was diagnosed here.

For more information about prostate cancer visit: www.prostatecancerbc.ca

To find out how to be a part of the 2012 ride and register online visit: www.ridetolive.ca 




See more photos below.


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