Swift Current's inaugural Ride For Dad impresses national director

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Wet weather would have deterred riders in other communities, but a morning drizzle was of little concern for the close to 150 motorcyclists who proudly rode across the Southwest in support of Swift Current's inaugural Telus Motorcycle Ride for Dad on Saturday.

The fundraiser generated $47,000 in charitable pledges from 146 registered participants to help fight prostate cancer through the Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation.

John McKinlay-Key, the National Director of Operations for Ride for Dad, saluted Swift Current for having one of the best organized first rides.

"They really pulled it off. It's one of the best executed first year rides I've seen," he said. "The people that came out in this kind of weather is truly amazing - to brave that kind of weather to support us."

"I have nothing but wonderful things to say about this event. It was very well planned and very well executed," McKinlay-Key added.

The morning ride began with a long stretching parade through Swift Current, with riders joined by members of the RCMP and Swift Current's Emergency Service personnel. Riders then heading out on the highway to ride though Hodgeville, Hazenmore and Cadillac before returning back to Swift Current to wrap their day.

Swift Current joins Saskatoon as the only two Saskatchewan communities hosting a Ride For Dad, with Swift Current earning the distinction of being named the 30th chapter in a national network of groups hosting events in support of fighting prostate cancer. There are now 41 chapters across Canada, and Ride for Dad has a legacy of having contributed more than $10 million towards the fight against prostate cancer dating back to a single ride in Ottawa back in 2000.

"We cause men to talk about the prostate and the problem, and take it out of the dark ages, and take it out of the closet, and get people to recognize the potential problem that they could have. Prostate Cancer will touch one in six men in their lives," he said.

Recently published Canadian Cancer Society statistics highlight that an estimated 23,600 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during 2013. This total represents one-quarter of all new cancer cases in men anticipated this year.

The Canadian Cancer Society stats confirm that prostate cancer diagnoses in Canada are on the rise, but deaths are dropping. On average, 11 Canadian men will die for prostate cancer every day, while an average of 65 Canadian men will be diagnosed on a daily basis.

"We'd like to believe that we're causing men to go and get checked, and therefore being diagnosed more frequently, which is wonderful because then they're being treated earlier and more effectively, and therefore the death rate is dropping. We believe we have a hand in doing that across Canada," McKinlay-Key said.

"There's no need for men to die of it if they were cognizant of the problem and would go and get checked and get a benchmark," he added. "Prostate cancer can be effectively treated if detected early. If it's detected late it can be really ugly. Men just don't go and get checked."

Funds raised by Ride for Dad have supported meaningful research projects across Canada, and the organization is proud of their advancements towards new markers and more effective tests.

Funds generated in Swift Current will remain in the province in support of prostate cancer research conducted in Saskatchewan, along with important awareness campaigns.

Organizations: Canadian Cancer Society, Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation, Telus Ride for Dad

Geographic location: Swift Current, Canada, Saskatchewan Saskatoon Ottawa

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