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, MLA St. Norbert
June 10, 2013

Breast Cancer Pledge Ride

Mr. Speaker, fighting cancer is one of the most important causes. Any time I can turn my hobbies into activism, I am doubly eager to help. The Breast Cancer Pledge Ride provides motorcycle enthusiasts like me with this ideal opportunity. I rode over 220 kilometres and my team raised a few hundred dollars.

This year, the pledge ride celebrated its 12th anniversary on June 2nd. On an annual basis, motorcyclists come from all over Manitoba to show their support and submit their pledges. This year, riders hit a milestone: a million kilometres travelled. The 743 registrants raised more than $115,000, reaching a grand total of $650,000 since 2002. All funds raised go to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, directly impacting health in this province.

Mr. Speaker, the groups choose the projects they fund. Examples include clinic trials to enhance patient care, early access to new cancer therapies, the expedited release of new drugs not commercially available, expanded coverage to new commercially available drugs and the purchases of numerous assistive technologies. As most donations are between $5 and $20, every dollar really does count.

The Manitoba Government knows that screening and early detection saves lives and that's why we continue the screening initiatives. The breast cancer survival rate in Manitoba is 85 per cent, up from 79 per cent a decade ago. And that's why we're intent on leading the nation and ensuring that patients get results within their targeted time and often much time sooner. We have introduced a wait time guarantee for radiation therapy for breast cancer, making certain that no one will wait beyond the medically recommended benchmark of four weeks. This impressive $40-million, first-in-Canada cancer strategy reduces the entire patient journey to two months or less. The pledge ride has been active in these successes.

Thank you to everyone who participates in the Breast Cancer Pledge Ride as riders, donors and volunteers. This community event brings out the best in us, making our efforts both noteworthy and fun. We are making progress to eliminate this devastating disease and I couldn't be more proud to be part of such a significant cause.