Ride for Dad, a group motorcycle event to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer, is back on the road this year in its original format.
Mathew King, co-chair of the Niagara event, rides for friends and colleagues who have fought, and are now fighting, prostrate cancer, he says.
This year’s ride is Saturday, June 18 — it’s always the Saturday of Father’s Day weekend, “because what better way to celebrate Father’s Day than ride with your dad,” or for your dad, and all men, King says.
Established in 2010, the Niagara Motorcycle Ride for Dad has raised more than $600,000 for the fight against prostate cancer. The proceeds are invested in ground-
breaking prostate cancer research, as well as life-saving public awareness campaigns that promote the importance of early detection.
Money raised in Niagara is invested locally, says King.
Dr. Abby Hallock, a radiation oncologist and the head of the department at the Walker Family Cancer Center, is the celebrity ride captain this year, says King. In 2019, a Ride For Dad grant of $20,000 supported her study of a procedure to lessen the negative effects of radiation therapy during prostate cancer treatment.
The ride also supported a Brock University research project looking at a plant-based therapy targeting cancer cells, he says.
The last two years were Ride Alone Together events, with small groups of friends or family members encouraged to ride together, safely, following COVID protocols. The need to keep fundraising, awareness and the fight against prostate cancer in the forefront continued during the pandemic, and the ride was able to raise some money for the cause, says King.
“We’re thrilled to be back with a group ride,” says King, however, during the last two years, “unfortunately, a lot of people have passed away from prostate cancer.”
And will die this year — Canadian Cancer Society statistics show one in eight males in this country will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2022, and 4,600 men will die.
“The last few years of the pandemic have been difficult for many,” says King, who is optimistic that it’s in the rear view mirror, and is looking forward to seeing the “rolling thunder” arrive in NOTL at the Royal Canadian Legion hall on King Street, for a day of renewing old friendships and riding for prostate cancer research.
Prostate cancer, King says, is curable if caught early, making awareness essential. The annual ride is an opportunity to get that message out, to advocate that men be checked, and to raise money for research.
Bill Miller of Niagara-on-the-Lake, a regular participant in the ride, wasn’t one of the lucky ones. He died of prostate cancer in 2020, and has friends who continue to ride for him, says King.
This year, prostate cancer also became very real in King’s family, when his uncle was diagnosed with it. He was lucky enough to have early detection, and became a candidate for SABR treatment, a highly-focused radiation treatment that gives an intense dose of radiation concentrated on a tumour, while limiting the dose to the surrounding organs, which was also supported with a grant from Ride for Dad. King says he is grateful for the treatment that has allowed his uncle to “still be around for his children, grandchildren and his extended family.”
The first Ride for Dad event was held in Ottawa, and as it spread across the country, was initiated locally by a group of Niagara Regional Police officers, including King.
They continue to organize it every year, for all motorcycle enthusiasts who want to ride and fund-raise to beat cancer, he says. There are many women also taking part, knowing that prostate cancer touches their fathers, grandfathers and partners, and as a result also impacts their lives.
It’s about a four-hour police-escorted ride, beginning at the legion hall on King Street, touring through a beautiful area that includes NOTL and Niagara Falls, and ending at Club Italia in Niagara Falls, with a pasta lunch.
For the Ride for Dad route, visit https://ridefordad.ca/chapter/niagara/niagara-2022-route-map/
To donate, visit https://ridefordad.akaraisin.com/ui/RFD2022/p/2199c546dffc4c1fbcf4d9145f0b6060
Registration is at 7 to 8:45 a.m, kickstand up at 9 a.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #124, 410 King Street, NOTL.
Registration is $40 before ride day, June 18, $50 on ride day, or free with $100 collected in pledges.