Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Trip raises awareness and cash for cancer

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BIKERS don't often talk about their butts, but a record number of them did Saturday morning.

Close to 800 motorcycles cruised down Portage Avenue bound for Gimli Saturday, part of the fourth annual Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad that raises money for prostate cancer research.

The bikes gathered at Polo Park, along with some celebrity riders such as Tory MP Shelly Glover and Winnipeg Jets assistant coach Charlie Huddy. The army of riders stopped at the Red River Exhibition Park and then on to Gimli for lunch.

Organizers hoped for 500 riders and had a fundraising goal of $80,000. By mid-morning, the sea of Harleys in the Polo Park parking lot totalled nearly 800. More than $100,000 was raised.

Organizer and cancer survivor Ed Johner said all the money stays in Manitoba and goes to local research projects and awareness campaigns.

He said despite the squeamishness that still surrounds prostate cancer, more men are getting tested.

"It's not just an old man's disease," said Johner, who was 45 when he was diagnosed. "It can hit you when you're young."

He said it was a PSA test that saved his life. Johner had the routine blood test done as part of a regular checkup, and that established his baseline PSA level. A few years later, when he went in for another checkup, his doctor noticed Johner's PSA levels had spiked. A rectal exam -- the other key test for prostate cancer -- wouldn't have picked up Johner's disease, which also affected his kidneys.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, one in seven men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. Johner called that statistic "staggering."

-- Mary Agnes Welch

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 27, 2012 A4

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