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'I get a shiver down my spine every time': Ride for Dad roars on

The 16th Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad raised nearly $500,000 for prostate cancer research on May 25, 2024. (Source: Daniel Halmarson/CTV News Winnipeg) The 16th Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad raised nearly $500,000 for prostate cancer research on May 25, 2024. (Source: Daniel Halmarson/CTV News Winnipeg)
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A cold, wet Saturday morning didn’t slow down hundreds of motorcycle riders from embarking on an annual trek.

The bikers gathered outside Earls Polo Park for the 16th Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad (MRFD) – an annual fundraiser for prostate cancer research.

Organizers estimate about 350 riders participated in this year’s event despite some rain and temperatures hovering around 7 C.

“The only thing we can’t control is the weather,” Maurice Sabourin, MRFD co-chair, told CTV News following the ride. “But it was an amazing turnout for a drizzly, cool morning – and that’s the spirit of Manitobans.”

Sabourin said riders raised close to $500,000 this year, bringing the 16-year total to almost $5 million. He credits riders for gathering pledges from family members, friends, co-workers, and corporate donors.

“We’ve all been affected by not only prostate cancer, but cancer [in general],” Sabourin said. “And Manitobans are very giving and genuine – that’s where the money comes from.”

He said proceeds raised from the ride stay in Manitoba, and help fund prostate cancer research and education.

“One of our biggest goals is just to get the message out to men – get tested,” Sabourin explained.

“If it’s detected early enough, it’s highly treatable. And the unfortunate thing is there are a lot of men out there that don’t even know that they have prostate cancer.”

One of the common ways of detection is through a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, PSA is a protein made by prostate cells. It is mostly found in semen, but small amounts of PSA can also be found in blood. Higher levels of PSA in the blood can be caused by prostate cancer or other conditions including an enlarged prostate or urinary tract infection.

Sabourin said the Motorcycle Ride for Dad started in Ottawa 24 years ago because there wasn’t a lot of research being done for prostate cancer. He helped found the Manitoba MRFD in 2009 alongside co-chair Kirk Van Alstyne.

Sixteen years later, the sound of bikes roaring to life never gets old for Sabourin.

“All I can say is bone-chilling,” Sabourin said. “I get a shiver down my spine every time.”

This year’s opening ceremonies included speakers Premier Wab Kinew and city councillor Markus Chambers, along with representatives from the Winnipeg Police Service, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service and RCMP.

The motorcycle riders rode west in a police-escorted parade down Portage Avenue to Assiniboia Downs before driving north to Selkirk, Gimli and back. The day-long rally ended with a wind-up celebration at Canada Inns Windsor Park.

During question period last Thursday, Justice Minister Matt Wiebe announced Manitoba Public Insurance is developing a speciality license plate to celebrate the Ride for Dad in the coming months. Wiebe said proceeds from the license plates will support MRFD’s charitable work.

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