There is nothing quite like the sound of 175 close friends riding along the highway on their motorcycles.
If you are into that kind of thing, you will get a chance to see something along those lines June 11 starting at 8 a.m. when the annual Ride for Dad kicks off at Shipyards Park.
The Yukon chapter, which was founded in 2010, has a long history of support and camaraderie when it comes to the fundraiser which supports seed funding for prostate cancer research.
Whether you ride a motorcycle, hop on as a passenger or have nothing to do with motorcycling, you can still make a huge difference to the event, said Sean Secord, a co-chair for the local chapter.
He added that the Yukon group is the only chapter in the country that hosts two fundraising events within the calendar year. Aside from the June ride, the organization also hosts a comedy night, during the winter, that adds more pledges to the cause. COVID has hampered the comedy segment the past couple of years, but Secord is hopeful we are on the down side of the pandemic and its effects on socialization and events.
“As a charity, we are still able to raise a lot of money.”
Riders, survivors, and friends and family who have all been touched in some way by prostate cancer have routinely stepped up to the plate to support the local chapter, and Secord said one of the biggest fundraisers doesn’t have anything to do with a motorcycle.
Traditionally, the ride has taken participants through the Tagish Loop, but in recent years (before COVID), the chapter branched out to ride in different directions, and it was well received.
“We did different communities and we got some good feedback,” Secord said.
This year’s ride will see participants heading to Haines Junction after a brief ride through Whitehorse. However, there’s more to the event, Secord added. On Friday June 10, people can come down to Shipyards Park, between 5–8 p.m., to take in the sights and sounds of motorcycles, games, and even food and music.
Now that many pandemic-related restrictions have been lifted in the territory, Secord said he would like to see the number of riders get back to pre-COVID levels. The goal, he added, has always been to get about 200 bikes out there for the ride, but typically they land in the 170–180 range. But there is always hope.
“The more the merrier,” he said.
In the last 22 years, the annual Ride for Dad has raised $37 million and has made a huge difference in how people are diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer. As a health professional himself, Secord sees tremendous value in being able to help move research forward through fundraising. Now partnering with researchers in Alberta, the local chapter has seen its money used in groundbreaking testing that can potentially find aggressive cancers through blood work rather than the traditional biopsy, which is hugely impactful to Yukoners who can give blood in the territory versus making long and expensive trips to the Outside for treatment and testing.
Time is short, and the sooner people can be made aware of the need and lifesaving implications of prostate cancer testing, research and treatment, the better. So dig out those leather chaps, wash down your bike and get your best smile on, because you are in a place with one of the shortest riding seasons in the country—and every minute counts.