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, MLA St. Norbert
May 30, 2013

Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad

The story of the Ride for Dad is bittersweet. It brings together two things I care about: riding a motorcycle on the open road and supporting the fight against prostate cancer.

Charlie Pester was an educator from Kingston. By the time he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, it was already too late. He wanted his story to encourage others to seek necessary screenings and treatment.

In Canada, one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in men. The sad fact that over 1.2 million Canadian men have prostate cancer and the vast majority of them don't know it yet. Annually, this cancer ends the lives of 4,300 Canadian men: that is 12 men daily.

Across Canada, thousands come together every year to host local Rides to garner donations, turning a hobby into activism. Motorcycle enthusiasts ride their bikes to raise funds, all of which goes towards awareness campaigns and research.

A record high 1,002 riders took part in Winnipeg's fifth annual Ride last weekend. First organized over a decade ago in Ottawa, 30 cities across the country host Rides, and plans are under way for more. Over 100,000 people have been involved in Canadian Rides, raising a whopping $9 million in the fight against prostate cancer.

I have ridden my bike to support this effort and was honoured to receive a cheque on behalf of Manitobans. This heartfelt gift to CancerCare, Manitobans, will help save lives and improve the conditions of current patients.

In Manitoba, our survival rate for cancer has increased nearly 10 per cent since the 1990s. Our Cancer Patient Journey initiative will make cancer times in the country the shortest at two months or less, cover 100 per cent of the cost of cancer-care drugs for patients at home, and offer new supports for rural cancer patients. The plan, which includes all recommendations from the Canadian Cancer Society, commits $19.5 million to the fight for cancer.

I cannot thank the Ride for Dad organizers, participants and donors enough for their selfless compassion and care. You are looking out for every Manitoban man and supporting the greater struggle against cancer. Ride on!