10th annual Ride for Doug raises $34,000

Fundraiser for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research has contributed more than $150,000 to the cause since the first ride a decade ago

Doug Penner addresses riders before they head out on the 10th annual Ride for Doug on Sunday. The event, a fundraiser for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, brought in $34,000 this year.

“Blown away” is how Doug Penner’s dad Cam describes his feelings toward the riders, friends and family who supported the 10th annual Ride For Doug.

Nearly 90 motorcyclists took part in the ride under warm skies on Sunday, June 5, raising $34,000.

The ride covers more than 100 km of scenic roads, with riders stopping at Cascade Falls in Mission and returning to Langley for a barbecue. This year, Doug’s guitar teacher provided live music for the hungry crew.

In 2016, Ride For Doug had two fundraising goals. The first was to support Muscular Dystrophy Canada, as it has for the past nine years. The ride has raised over $150,000 for the charity over the years.

The second goal this year was to help purchase a stair lift for Doug. As he gets older, stairs are becoming more challenging. A total of $14,000 was raised toward that project, said Cam.

Cam can’t believe it’s been 10 years since he has organized the first ride to honour his son who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The illness affects only boys and has no cure.

Each year, Doug rides on the back of his dad’s bike.  The 13-year-old has come to know the riders who participate.

Every year, Cam writes down his feelings about the ride and the road ahead.

“Eighty-nine motorcycles strong, leaving the lot in a show of power. One of their own has a tough battle ahead, and every one of the riders is proving they are riding with Doug. He is not alone,” wrote Cam.

“This next week, while at the hospital hooked up to his weekly IV, he won’t be thinking about Muscular Dystrophy. He will be sharing the tales of the road. Talking about who showed up, who got a new bike this year, and planning and scheming on how to get one of his own.”

Doug has switched from weekly injections of his clinical trial drug to a weekly IV. He has had not one, but two surgeries to install ports.

“I have flown to Washington, DC to lobby the FDA for drug approval. And we have logged more than 60 visits to Children’s Hospital.

“But Doug is still walking. For a DMD boy of 13.5 years, this is impressive. But with the sweet comes the bitter.”

Five days before Ride For Doug, the trial medication he is on was discontinued.

But Doug’s spirits are high, knowing so many people are in his corner, said Cam.

“Days like this are why we need Ride For Doug, and the friends and family who support us. Pain and disappointment are never far away. We will be leaning on you in the coming days as we regain our footing. And after a day like today, we have no doubt that you will be there,” wrote Cam.

For more information, or to donate, go to the Facebook page or ridefordoug.com.