The Telus Ride for Dad is soon to take to the streets of Ottawa, continuing to raise money and awareness in its fight against prostate cancer.
Representing one of the largest motorcycle rides in the country, its raised more than $33-million for the Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation since the first ride in 2000.
Co-chair of the Ottawa Chapter's Telus Ride for Dad, Samantha Hastie said the group is asking the community to get involved, be committed and lend their support.
"You don't need to be a motorcycle rider to help out," said Hastie. "Non-riders can make a donation, they can raise their own pledges -- what we call champions. Or they can come out to the event and cheer on the riders. There are so many things that you can do to get involved with the cause."
The Ottawa chapter held a kickoff event on April 25 in Kanata to announce this year's ride route.
"[The ride is] really a messaging opportunity," said Executive Director, Rob Taylor. "It will also give an opportunity for the researchers who have received the funding, raised in previous rides, to talk about the advancements they're making. It generates an opportunity for us to get the message to men and they're families to go and get checked for prostate cancer because, when it's detected early, it's very treatable and the survival rates are highest when its found early."
The riders will be rumbling through town on June 1, meeting in front of the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum at 7 a.m. They will set off on their ride at 8:30 a.m. with a police escort taking them throughout the city; down by the Prime Minister's residence on Sussex Drive, past the Chateau Laurier, before ending at the Canada Post on Riverside Drive.
They will then begin a poker route.
"There's a poker card and there's five poker stops; Canada Post (Riverside Drive), Morewood, Ingleside, Iroquois Locks and then finally ending at Winchester," said Hastie. "There's a poker stop at each of those locations. You choose a card and the person with the best poker-hand wins a $1,000 cash prize. There's also a surprise -- all the poker cards go in and there's a $2,500 dollar gift card from Freedom Harley Davidson of Ottawa."
Hastie added that more women are getting involved in the fight.
"We just want to get more women involved in this motorcycle ride," she explained. "We know that half of the Ottawa chapter is made up of female executives and we're making a big difference. We're starting with the hashtag #girlsridingfordad."
Roughly 10 per cent of the riders in Ottawa are women.
"This is definitely a male disease, but prostate cancer does not affect only the men," said Hastie. "It has a huge impact on families and everybody in the family unit. Wives, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers; everyone is touched by this one diagnosis."