File photo A convoy of 300 motorcycles gets ready for departure at a previous Ride for Dad. This year’s ride will be headed through the area on Saturday, June 17.

Ride for dad to motor through Nanoose, Parksville, Qualicum Beach

More than one-hundred motorcyclists expected to raise money for prostate cancer research

More than one hundred motorcyclists are expected to ride their hogs from Nanaimo to Cumberland in this year’s Vancouver Island Telus Motorcycle Ride for Dad this Saturday, June 17.

Motorcyclists gather pledges of support to raise funds in the event, in addition to the charity gathering corporate and other donations, all for prostate cancer research and awareness.

With 500,000 men, women and children having participated in ride events in 40 cities across Canada, the Motorcycle Ride for Dad has raised a total of $23 million, according to the Island ride’s news release.

The honorary ride captain for this local ride has been part of the event since it started in Ottawa more than 15 years ago.

“Preston Manning and I were there to wish them well when they started, because Preston had had prostate cancer surgery,” said Deb Grey, a former Reform Party MP who represented two Alberta ridings, and a longtime motorcyclist.

“As you might guess, I don’t have a prostate, but guess what, I know a whole lot of people who do,” said Grey, now a Qualicum Beach resident. “I have a husband; I have a brother. So the fact that it’s a woman saying ‘prostate cancer awareness is important,’ yes, a woman should be saying that as well. So I’m happy to donate my time and energy to it.”

According to Motorcycle Ride for Dad stats, one in seven men will be affected by prostate cancer.

“Too many go undiagnosed because they don’t get checked and don’t find out they have it until it is too late,” the event’s news release said. “Successful treatment depends on early detection. In the longer term, research into improved diagnosis, treatment, prevention and a cure will improve our capacity to deal with this disease.”

Grey said she’s especially excited to take part in this year’s ride, as it’s her 50th year riding a motorcycle. She and her husband will be riding matching Honda Valkyries at the head of the pack.

This year, the ride is headed in the opposite direction than usual, said Grey, with riders starting out in Nanaimo and then rolling through Nanoose Bay, Parksville and Qualicum Beach via the inland highway up to Cumberland.

The ride leaves Nanaimo at 10:30 a.m. Stops are scheduled at Nanoose Bay Place Community Centre and Bayview Custom Motorcycles in Parksville.

Since 2010, the Vancouver Island ride has raised more than $85,000. Grey said she’s hoping for between 200 and 300 participants this year, but added that weather has a big impact on attendance. She said she hopes the event raises $15,000 or more.

Donations can still be sent via ridefordad.ca.

— With files from the Comox Valley Record