ATV Ride for Dad attracts 200 riders
Sean Chase/Daily Observer The first-ever TELUS ATV Ride for Dad started out at Mile Nine Marker off Barron Canyon Road in Laurentian Valley Saturday. More than 200 riders on 168 ATVs drove a 70-kilometre backwoods route to raise more than $8,239 for the Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation.
LAURENTIAN VALLEY – All-Terrain drivers and riders took the fight against prostate cancer to the trails Saturday, as the first-ever TELUS ATV Ride for Dad in Renfrew County got underway.
The event, inspired by the successful Motorcycle Ride for Dad and Snowmobile Ride for Dad, brought out more than 200 riders on 168 ATVs. The ride collectively raised more than $8,239 for the cause.
This inaugural ride set out from a clearing off Barron Canyon Road, west of Pembroke. Riders had a chance to negotiate a 70-kilometre route that took them down disused logging roads and trails north into Laurentian Hills. The route skirted the boundary of Algonquin Park before bringing the riders back to the Mile Nine launch point.
The mission of the TELUS Ride For Dad, which takes place in every province, is to raise funds to save men’s lives by supporting prostate cancer research and raising public awareness of the disease. That fact was driven home by cancer survivor Harold Tibbits, who was first diagnosed a few years after retiring from the military.
During opening ceremonies before the ride got underway, Tibbits recounted how he followed his doctors advice to get a PSA test every year. The test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate, the small gland that sits below a man's bladder. In 2002, doctors found a lump on his prostate. Tibbits underwent surgery to have it removed. Although he has experienced many trials and tribulations since, he credits the tests with picking up the lump.
“The big thing is early detection. The cancer is gone and I have been 15 years cancer free,” said Tibbits. “They say if you get past seven years then you are usually home free. Hopefully it is gone forever.”
Since 2000, the TELUS Ride For Dad has donated more than $25 million to the Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation. Funds raised are used to support prostate cancer research and awareness in the communities where those funds were raised. The ATV ride is a newer event for many host chapters, explained Ride for Dad national ride captain Byron Smith adding it gives rural communities another option from the traditional motorcycle rides.
“It takes a fair size city to put on a motorcycle ride,” explained Smith. “This allows us to get into the back country. It's the same demographic and Canada is more back country.”
While the TELUS Ride For Dad holds 40 rides every year nationwide, only eight of them involve ATVs. For the past seven years, the snowmobile ride in Renfrew County has raised $150,000. Organizers wished to thank Dan Park, of the Upper Ottawa Valley Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police for their assistance, St. John's Ambulance, Wild Phil's Fry and Grill, major sponsors and volunteers.