After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ride for Dad Calgary chapter is set to hit the streets again, all in the name of raising money and awareness around prostate cancer.
On Sept. 25, hundreds of motorcyclists will take off from Ralph’s Motorsports in Balzac at 9:30 a.m. and make their way to the Powderhorn Saloon in Bragg Creek.
“Since this started in 2007, we have raised over $1.5 million for prostate cancer research and awareness,” said David Saxby, the chair of Ride for Dad’s Calgary chapter.
While numbers have not been confirmed yet, Saxby said as many as 635 riders have previously gathered for the annual fundraiser.
“We are excited,” he said. “Being able to have the ride again sure changes our ability to raise funds.”
According to Saxby, all money raised through Ride for Dad stays local. He added there is a research doctor at the Prostate Cancer Centre in Calgary who the group has supported in his research development for 15 years.
“They are making great strides with the research,” Saxby said. “[There are] a lot less invasive procedures than they used to be.”
Funds raised during the ride also go to support MAN VAN, which is Canada’s first and only mobile men’s health clinic. The travelling vehicle-based clinic offers free Prostate Specific Antigen blood testing for men aged 40 to 80 in Calgary and communities throughout rural southern Alberta.
In 2020, the Calgary chapter’s Ride for Dad event was cancelled due to pandemic-related restrictions. Saxby said with the number of riders who typically come out, along with the concern of congregating and stopping on the route, it was easier to call it off and be safe.
“We decided that it probably isn’t a good idea to have 150 to 635 riders showing up at a place that is closed or has limited access,” he said.
What the organization did instead, which is happening this year as well, is host the RAT Ride – or Ride Alone Together. With this, riders were still able to pledge and fundraise individually, in a safer and more socially distant matter.
In terms of fundraising goals, in previous years, Saxby said upwards of $90,000 has been raised through the Calgary chapter’s Ride for Dad event. While the goal is to achieve that total again, he recognizes a lot of people are in a financial circumstance where their income has been affected due to COVID-19.
“That is part of the way things are right now,” he said.
To find out more about how to get involved, visit ridefordad.ca