Betty Ann Merke
In 2001 an enthusiastic team of women and men came together to create the annual ride. The goal of the ride is to make a difference in our community today by bring Manitoba motorcyclists together to raise funds. As we discussed the idea of raising money for breast cancer, we discovered that it had touched many of our lives. We heard many stories of grandmothers, mothers, sisters, wives and brothers. We realized breast cancer was closer than we thought.
It is amazing how one small idea could blossom into an event that enables us to make such an impact on the health of our province. In thirteen years the Manitoba motorcycling community has raised over $750,000 to fight breast cancer in Manitoba. The money was raised mainly in 5, 10 and 20-dollar donations, proving that every dollar really does add up.
A huge thank you goes out to all the motorcycle enthusiasts who participate and support this worthy cause. Without you we would not have done it! Your efforts have made a difference in our province by helping purchase the third mobile mammography screening unit and a cargo van to transport the units across the province. The mobile units enable more women in rural and remote areas of our province to be screened for breast cancer every year.
Your efforts also made a direct impact on patients with breast cancer and their families by supporting the Breast Cancer Centre of Hope (a resource centre), The Manitoba Screening Program, the wig program at CancerCare Manitoba and patient education shower cards that promote early detection. We have also supported upgrades to the mobile mammography units. In 2008 we were able to purchase a ChemiDoc XRS Molecular Imaging System. It is a supersensitive camera that can view molecules within cells and it is the most advanced imaging system available. It is used to analyze DNA, RNA and protein from breast cancer tumors. “It is the way we visualize the results of our research," said Dr. Leigh Murphy, head researcher at CancerCare Manitoba. The imaging system is very essential at CancerCare Manitoba is used everyday.
With the proceeds from the 2009 and 2011 rides we were able to support clinical trials at CancerCare Manitoba. A clinical trial is research involving people. The knowledge gained at a clinical trial will benefit Manitobans by: enhancing patient care; provide early access to new cancer therapies and make new drugs available that are not yet
commercially available, or make available some newer commercially available
drugs whose cost is not yet covered.
People take part in clinical trials to feel better or live longer, knowing that they
are also helping other people now and in the future. A trial allows them to gain
access to the newest types of treatment and to be the first to benefit from a new
treatment while giving clinicians further knowledge and experience from clinical
With the proceeds from the 2010 ride we were able to buy a new cargo van to
transport the mobile mammography units across the province. This program
enables more women access to breast cancer screening.
The money raised is going towards a mobile digital mammography unit that will
travel across the province. Digital mammography is fast and allows the technologist
to view the image immediately to ensure the quality of the image. After the exam
the doctor can adjust or magnify the images to make it easier to see differences in
tissues. Digital images can be electronically sent to other doctors or specialists to see.
We are proud to say all our funds raised stay right here in Manitoba at
CancerCare Manitoba Foundation. We are able to pick the projects we fund.
The Breast Cancer Pledge Ride committee is made up of volunteers.
In 2017, over 520 motorcycles and volunteers participated and raised over $74,000 which brought our total to over a$1,000,000! Every donation stays here in Manitoba and we are anxiously looking forward to even greater success at this years event. Over the years we have supported many projects that have made a difference in the health of Manitoban’s. Projects such as:
This is the second year we are raising money for these two projects. Project #1: Understanding and exploiting DLC1 tumor interactions with non-muscle myosin. Dr. Michael Mowat will study how anticancer drugs affect both normal and tumor cells, resulting in adverse side effects. Project #2: Design of a signal classification method for breast abnormality detection in remote communities. Dr. Stephen Pistorius and his team at CancerCare Manitoba are developing low power microwave technology and techniques for early stage breast cancer detection.
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