The Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live will roar through communities across Victoria on Sunday (June 1) in the annual poker ride to raise funds to support prostate cancer research and education.
Organized by a group of community volunteers in partnership with The Prostate Centre, the event has raised more than $357,000 over the last four years.
In 2013, more than 800 men on Vancouver Island were diagnosed with prostate cancer. The funding helped pay for such programs as Men’s Health Day, a community fair where last year 517 men received free PSA (prostate specific antigen) tests. The test, not covered by MSP as mammograms are, normally costs $30. Of those tests, 22 showed elevated PSAs, with three at critical levels that saw the individuals immediately begin treatment.
Prostate Centre executive director Leanne Kopp said these events make a difference.
“When you look at the impact … (you see) that we are saving lives and I can say that confidently,” she said. “We are offering free community events, which is, in turn, saving lives in our community.”
The Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live hopes to attract 500 riders and raise $85,000. It starts with breakfast at Fountain Tire in Langford at 7:30 a.m. and ends with lunch and closing ceremonies at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney at 1 p.m.
The event promises to bring to light that one in seven men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, making it the number 1 cancer threat to the lives and health of the men. On the other hand, it is one of the most successfully treated cancers, if caught in time.
“Most men don’t want to talk about prostate cancer even though the statistics about the disease are startling,” said Kevin Worth, event chair. “That’s one of the many reasons why we have the ride. It’s to raise the profile of prostate cancer and to ensure the men in our community have the support services they need, but also help fund local researchers find a cure for this disease that is affecting far too many of us.”
– with files from Arnold Lim