Ride for Doug is in its seventh year and dad Cam Penner is hoping this fundraiser on Sunday, June 2 will be its best year ever.
“We had 88 motorcycles on the road last year, and fed over 300 people at the post ride celebration barbecue. More than $17,000 was raised last year,” said Penner.
“More important than the numbers is the impact. Ride For Doug brings together people from all walks of life in support of a common cause,” said Cam.
The Penner family began the ride in 2007, in honour of their son Doug, a 10-year-old Walnut Grove boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This is a progressive neuromuscular disease that impacts approximately one in every 3,500 boys. At this point in time, there is no known cure.
In the six years, Ride For Doug has raised more than $60,000 to help in the fight for a cure.
With last year’s numbers reaching record highs, they are expecting big things.
The barbecue at the end is open to all — riders and non-riders alike.
“At the end of the day, Muscular Dystrophy is no longer just a hard-to-spell disease. It has a face. Their friend Doug has it,” said Cam.
“Riding with us matters. Every bike that takes the road for the cause builds awareness and generates an emotional bond of support that has to be experienced to understand.”
The ride is a three to four hour ride through some of the best backroads of Langley, Abbotsford and Mission. There are a couple of stops along the way to stretch the legs and catch up with old friends.
The pace is easy — “Sportbike roads at a cruiser pace” is the flavour.
“Doug is still able to ride with us this year. He is looking forward to it with eager anticipation,” said Cam. “He does therapeutic horseback riding with PRDA (Pacific Riding For Developing Abilities) and the core balance and strength from that definitely carries over.”
Almost two years ago, Doug was put in a trial for a new drug. Being part of the study had the Penner family having to make weekly trips to B.C. Children’s Hospital.
“Doug is doing remarkably well, as measured against his peer group. It is still too early for us to know to what degree the new treatment is responsible — and how much of an impact it will have long term,” said Cam. “But many of the people involved in the study are telling us that the results look promising.”
Also, a group of firefighters on Vancouver Island are starting up their own Ride For Doug this summer.
The ride both starts and ends at South Langley Church. Registration is $20. This includes both the ride and the BBQ. Riders are encouraged to collect donations, and if they bring in more than $50 of donations, they ride and eat for free. For more info go to www.RideForDoug.com or facebook.com/RideForDoug.