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Judy Roy has never sat on the sidelines for the Ride for Dad event but she found herself waving as hundreds of bikers rode by.
Roy made the best out of an unforeseen situation at the annual prostate cancer fundraiser on Saturday. Roy said she couldn’t ride this year because her husband, Rob had to work this weekend. It was the first time the couple missed participating in the event since it started 12 years ago.
But that didn’t keep her from coming.
She and her grandsons nine-year-old Austin Porto and 11-year-old Aaron waved at the side road near the intersection of Balmoral Street and the Harbour Expressway as the bikers rode by.
“I’m not very happy not riding but being here and talking to the bikers is great,” Roy said. “I wouldn’t not be here.”
She said she hoped to participate at next year’s event.
Amber Anthonissen on the other hand never rode in the event before but decided to try it out because she said it was for a good cause. She said there aren’t many big rides in the city and usually has to travel to the United States.
“I always want to ride no matter what, “Anthonissen said. “It’s good to support Thunder Bay. It’s very important because you have to help out your city and everyone that is ill all the time.”
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Event spokesman Terry Young said although the this year event attracted 231 riders, attendance was down a little bit from the previous year mostly because of the fog.
Despite the weather, many motorcyclists from different groups came because the event gives them a chance to meet and get to know each other, he said.
“There aren’t that many big rides available in Northwestern Ontario that (motorcyclists) can participate in,” Young said. “This is a good way to rally around prostate cancer and I think the Father’s Day weekend is a perfect way to do that.”
Glenn Craig, president and CEO of the Thunder Bay Health Sciences Foundation, said all the proceeds raised at the event stay in Northwestern Ontario and hoped to raise about $60,000. He said the event not only raises money but also awareness about prostate cancer.
Since the event started 12 years ago, the public’s awareness about prostate cancer has increased and Craig said that important because it’s easier to treat prostate cancer when it is caught early.
“When I think of where the disease was on the radar 12 years ago men weren’t very comfortable talking about things like this,” Craig said. “Considering that one in six men will have this disease that wasn’t reflected in the conversations people were having. I think events like this as well as awareness campaigns like Prostate Man and Take it Like a Man campaign have really broken that mould.”
He added that more people are being diagnosed with prostate cancer but the mortality rate has decreased.
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