Automobile and motorcycle enthusiasts have been raising money for charity here in Manitoba for decades. In recent years, members of the local ATV community have followed that trail of benevolence.
On Monday, members of the Eastman ATV Association gathered in the spiffy new showroom of Adventure Power Products in Île-des-chênes to present a cheque in the amount of $12,838 to the Cancer Care Manitoba Foundation.
The money was raised June 3 at the second annual Ride for Mom, which took place in the Sandilands area on a 90-kilometre marked trail, the first of its kind in Manitoba located on crown land.
According to Deborah Nicol, president of the Eastman ATV Association, the trail was established by the association over a six-year period and officially opened last June — just in time for the inaugural Ride for Mom. For Nicol, a cancer survivor, planning and participating in the event was not only terrific fun, but also served as a form of four-wheeled therapy.
“It was very difficult to talk about having breast cancer,” Nicol said. “Being involved in the Ride for Mom has been a good way to help me deal with that and also a nice way to give back to the amazing folks at Cancer Care.”
The ride attracted more than 800 participants, with a few riders travelling in from as far away as Alberta and Saskatchewan to join in the festivities. Highlights included a pancake breakfast, a trail lunch, door prizes, a silent auction and a 50/50 draw.
Sherelle Kwan, community events manager with Cancer Care Manitoba Foundation, was ecstatic not only with the sizable donation, but also with how the ATV community has banded together to create such a large-scale event.
“We exist to bridge that gap where government funding ends and our community members and donors come together to fund cancer research, clinical trials and patient and family services,” Kwan said, adding the foundation heavily relies on third party events and the people who fundraise on their behalf.
In addition to the Ride for Mom, other motoring events supporting Cancer Care include the popular Breast Cancer Pledge Ride for motorcyclists and a number of smaller events organized by local automobile, motorcycle and even snowmobile clubs.
“The camaraderie is really something special,” she said. “When you see a community come together over something they are so passionate about and do so much good for others it is truly humbling.”
Derek Roth, who along with business partner Frank Cicco owns and operates Adventure Power Products, an ATV, motorcycle, watercraft and yard equipment dealer, says signing up to be the title sponsor of the event was an easy decision.
“Initially we thought it was a great opportunity to get involved in helping the fight against cancer,” Roth said, adding that Cicco’s sister, Victoria Trotta, passed away last year of cancer.
In September 2016 Roth’s connection with Cancer Care grew even closer.
“After we’d already sponsored the first Ride for Mom, my wife, Michelle, whose mother is also a breast cancer survivor, was diagnosed with breast cancer,” he said.
Michelle, who happens to be a clinical nurse in the prostate centre at Cancer Care Manitoba, has since undergone chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery — the doctors are now confident she has it beat.
“Without Cancer Care Manitoba, Michelle would have lost her life, I would have lost my wife and our children would have lost their mother,” Roth said.
“Cancer is a horrible disease that is looked after by spectacular people. I want everyone to know just how lucky we are to have these amazing people providing such exceptional care to our fellow Manitobans.”
Plans are already well underway for the third annual Ride for Mom. Deborah Nicol and her army of enthusiastic fellow Eastman ATV Association members are already hard at work. “We have such an amazing, caring and supportive club and great sponsors and what started as an idea to give back to the community has developed into an amazing family event we hope will continue to grow and support Cancer Care for many years to come.”
For more information on Ride for Mom, the Eastman ATV Association and the beautiful ATV/UTV trails in the heart of the Sandilands Provincial Forest check out eastmanatv.com.