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Yukon Ride for Dad chapter near the top of national fundraising leaderboard

The Yukon Ride for Dad chapter may not be the biggest in the country, but what it lacks in riders, it more than makes up for in fundraising.
Pierre Allard leans on his bike before the Yukon Ride for Dad motorcycle parade in Whitehorse on Aug. 8. Allard is the Yukon chapter’s single person top fundraiser this year and one of the top fundraisers in Canada. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

The Yukon Ride for Dad chapter may not be the biggest in the country, but what it lacks in riders, it more than makes up for in fundraising.

The territory’s 11th annual prostate cancer awareness motorcycle ride took place on Aug. 8, with one Yukoner leading the country in single-person fundraising and the Yukon as a group in second place for total funds raised.

Pierre Allard, this year’s top fundraiser, started riding with the Yukon Ride for Dad in 2013 — the same year he got his first bike.

He was looking at taking his old 1984 Honda Shadow for a long ride, but wasn’t sure it would make it. A friend told Allard about the Ride for Dad, which generally does the Tagish loop as its course and has a sweeper vehicle in case anyone breaks down, so he paid the registration fee and joined the group for his first big ride.

“I went to the ride and it was super awesome,” Allard said. “Like just the camaraderie and the executive committee that’s in there is so dedicated and they work so hard to put on an event. I really just got hooked from that point on.”

Fast-forward seven years, and Allard is a top fundraiser.

“My goal every year is just to beat last year,” said Allard. “Last year was $7,900 and so this year I got $8,700.”

But unlike most years when the fundraising is over the day of the ride, this year’s fundraising will continue across the country until Oct. 1 due to changes made because of COVID-19.

“There’s a nice gentleman from, I believe Newfoundland, who’s really giving me a run for my money there,” Allard, who was knocked into second place on Aug. 10, said. “That’s really the hope, that whatever I raise, I hope I get blown out of the water by somebody else. It’s so nice to see people all over the country participating.”

Allard said he plans to continue fundraising until the deadline but doesn’t care what place he comes in because it’s all about raising money for a worthy cause.

More than 180 people participated in the Yukon Ride for Dad prostate cancer awareness ride in Whitehorse on Aug. 8. The Yukon chapter is known nationally for raising the most funds per capita. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

This isn’t the first year that the territory’s chapter has done exceedingly well with fundraising, said Sean Secord, Yukon Ride for Dad co-chair. Despite being up against big city chapters like Calgary, Montreal or Ottawa, the Yukon group continually punches above its weight when it comes to raising money.

“The Yukon’s been receiving awards for years on the national stage for the most amount of money raised per capita across the whole 40 or so chapters across the country,” Secord said. “Nobody raises as much per person as the Yukon.”

This year, 184 men and women (the same number as last year) shined up their hogs and donned their leathers to participate in the annual long ride over the weekend.

“We were overwhelmed by the number of people that came out,” Secord said. “We were kind of thinking with the way things are right now, with people being kind of gun shy to interact and so many restrictions, that we were expecting maybe 75 people or 100 tops.”

The Yukon’s current online fundraising total of almost $41,000 puts the territory second only to Ottawa with just over $61,000 raised and ahead of Saskatoon, Sask., at $31,000, with six weeks left of fundraising for everyone.

Over the weekend Yukoners were able to raise another $13,000 for an unofficial current total of $54,000 raised.

According to the Ride for Dad website, since 2000 the organization has raised more than $35 million with all proceeds going to the Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation. The Yukon chapter has contributed $772,000 of that since its inception 11 years ago.

The funds that the Yukon Ride for Dad raises is money geared directly at helping Yukoners.

“We wanted to find the right project that actually could help Yukoners,” Secord said. “This one that we found, we really are excited about. Once we get this research and the test validated, which is what we’re working on right now, we could just send blood instead of patients (to Vancouver to see a urologist for a biopsy) and have as accurate of a diagnosis.”

According to the Canadian Cancer Society website, prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in men in Canada. It estimates that in 2020, 23,300 men will be diagnosed with the cancer and 4,200 will die because of it.

The risk of developing prostate cancer increases as men grow older and is most often diagnosed in men in their 60s. Despite the high number of deaths related to prostate cancer, the death rate has been on the decline since 1994, which the Canadian Cancer Society says likely reflects improvements in treatment.

“Our hopes for next year are to increase involvement, explore ways to increase participation from communities, such as satellite rides or alternative routes, keep fundraising going up, contribute more to innovative research, and keep prostate cancer awareness on everyone’s mind,” Secord said.

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