Ride for Dad raises $50,000
LAURENTIAN VALLEY TWP. - Once again, area snowmobilers took the fight against prostate cancer to the trails Saturday, as the third annual TELUS Snowmobile Ride for Dad was held.
The event, inspired by the successful Motorcycle Ride for Dad, now marking its 13th year, brought out more than 225 riders, who collectively raised $50,000 for the cause.
Heading out from the Timberline Snowmobile Clubhouse, it took eight and a half minutes for all of the snowmobiles to file down the trail. The weather couldn't have been better, with clear skies and cold temperatures ensuring a good trip.
Bernie Boulay, event co-chairman, said he was very pleased with how the ride worked out this year, noting since they started, the event has raised $135,000 towards the battle with prostate cancer.
"This is starting to grow," he said, with 23 more riders taking part this year. Some participants were already trying to register for the 2014 ride, scheduled for Feb. 15, 2013.
"This has been quite the journey to set this all up," Boulay said, explaining the ride is the result of five months planning.
This year's ride was dedicated to the memory of Peter Doran of Pete's Sales and Service, one of the founding sponsors of the event. Doran passed away last year.
"This ride would not be what it is today without him," Boulay said.
While the fundraising is important, even more vital is the awareness the event raises of the disease, and the need to get checked regularly for its presence.
Statistically, one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and one in four will die from it, making it the second leading cause of cancer death in men next to lung cancer.
RSM CWO Giles Ouellet of 2 CMBG HQ and Sigs, the ride captain, said the point of the ride is to raise money and awareness in equal parts.
"We're here to make a statement, not to break speed records," he told the riders.
The ride started and finished at the Timberline Snowmobile Clubhouse in Laurentian Valley Township, with participants following a route which went through Petawawa to Deep River, pausing to stop at the Chalk River Lions Club for lunch, before returning to the clubhouse.
The riders moved along at a leisurely pace of 50 km/h, a show of support for the fight against one of the top killers of men, as well as to draw attention to prostate cancer.
Helping out along the trail were members of the Snow Country Snowmobile Association, and personnel from CFB Petawawa including the Military Police, who gave up their Saturday to help the event run smoothly, as well as participate. Members of the Upper Ottawa Valley OPP were on hand to provide an escort on the trail.
Speaking to the riders before they hit the trails, Retired Brig-Gen. F.A. Lewis, once Commander of Land Forces Central Area, said his great grandfather had it, his grandfather died of prostate cancer, his father beat it, and he hopes by the time it is his turn, the disease will have been beaten for good.
He said one thing everyone should remember, is when someone is diagnosed with cancer, make sure you are there for them, as it makes a big difference.
"The fact all of you are here shows you understand that," he said.
Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist