When Mark Diehl from the Blaine Lake area and a friend of his went to a car show in Calgary in 2008, they were approached by an officer wearing a blue glove, asking their age. He also asked if they had ever had a prostate exam.
Mark said that he lost his father to prostate cancer, so he took the exam to be sure he was all right. Mark also took all the information that he could as an idea popped up into his head. That is when the “Motorcycle Ride For Dad” got its start in Saskatoon in 2009 and now 10 years later, the Saskatoon Motorcycle Ride for Dad has raised over $1.1 million, which stays in Saskatoon for prostate cancer research.
On Saturday, June 15, the ride started in Saskatoon, continued on to Battleford, then to Wilkie, but unfortunately for the riders, who were all ages – men and women – were held up by the CPR track maintenance, so they weren’t able to come into to town 300 strong. They arrived in small groups, a bit wet and chilly, but with smiles on their faces to enjoy coffee, juice or water courtesy of Brenda at the Wilkie Reddi Mart and ice cream treats from the Wilkie Delta Co-op, and to pick their cards for their poker hand, which was a part of the fundraising done by the riders. Riders came from Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Local riders included Shannon and Lorne Sittler, Kevin Glessing, Brock Wangler, Kevin and Lauralee Kropf and riders from Landis area.
The volunteers – Clarke, Todd, Helen, Ocean, Ira and Kathy – were happy to help the riders and the friendly waves and handshakes, the “thanks for volunteering” as they headed to Biggar for the closing ceremony made the day. The most important message of the day – that ALL men ages 40 and up get tested for prostate cancer. Early detection is the most important part of becoming, as former North Battleford resident Brett Wilson has described, “a graduate of cancer.”