It’s about that time of year again – time to Ride For Doug.
For going on a decade, now, the annual ride has supported 13-year-old Doug Penner, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), along with others living with muscular dystrophy.
According to Muscular Dystrophy Canada, DMD is an inherited disorder. The muscles become weaker as the patient gets older.
Over the first nine years of the motorcycle cruise, supporters have helped to raise in excess of $150,000 for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
This money has supported research, and funded equipment for muscular dystrophy patients.
Doug’s dad Cam said Ride For Doug has made a massive difference in letting his family know that they are not on this journey on their own.
“Doug can point to the ride and know that he isn’t alone. It brings hope. Surely, if enough people pull together we can find that cure,” Cam said. “And whether we find it or not, having hundreds of people alongside to lend a hand sure helps.”
This year’s ride has extra incentive for participants, not only because it’s the 10th annual fundraiser, but also because the drug trial Doug has been on went to the FDA for approval and was turned down.
Doug is still on the drug, Drisapersen, while the company considers EU approval and its future, Cam explained.
“We’re also at the stage of life where a stair lift will be needed for Doug,” Cam added. “Part of this year’s fundraising is for that project.”
This Sunday’s three-to-four-hour ride starts and ends in the parking lot of the South Langley Church (20098 22nd Ave.).
Cam said in the days leading up to the ride, he’s more nervous than excited.
“There are still a million things to come together. Doug is definitely excited, though. He’s counting the days, and has been for a couple of weeks,” Cam told the Langley Advance. “I just want this 10-year [anniversary] Ride For Doug to come together with a great big ride to celebrate his perseverance and bravery. That’s really what this is all about: celebrating and supporting the boys as they tackle one of life’s hardest roads.”
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Registration is from noon to 12:30 p.m. and the bikes leave the church at 1 p.m.
Following the ride is a barbecue at 5:30 p.m. at the church.
The fee is $20 which includes both the ride and the barbecue. However, the fee is waived for riders who bring in $50 or more in donations.
You can register online and get more details about the fundraiser by visiting www.ridefordoug.com/next-ride-summary.
Fundraising information, as well as online donation links are available by clicking here.
This year there are two options for giving.
Option 1: Ride For Doug is continuing to welcome donations to Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Donations made to Muscular Dystrophy Canada are eligible for tax receipts.
To donate to Muscular Dystrophy and receive a tax receipt, follow the link www.ridefordoug.com/donate-now/ and select the “Donate To Md Canada” button.
Option 2: Doug needs a stair lift so that he can continue to move from floor to floor within his home.
“He is still walking, but stairs are proving to be a barrier to getting up and down,” Cam shared. “A stair lift will move Doug from floor to floor, giving him back his independence.”
Stair lifts are expensive. Early estimates at the Penner home indicate they are looking at roughly $20,000.
“We have been told that the best we can expect to see from funding help and extended medical insurance to be between $6,000 to $10,000,” Cam said.
“This will leave us $10,000 or more short.”
The family will keep their GoFundMe page updated.
The Penners’ hope is to have estimates completed in the next three weeks, funding help applications processed through the summer, and a fall 2016 installation.
Donations to the stair lift project can be made online or by cheques or cash.
Those who want to avoid the GoFundMe processing fee of 7 per cent can bring your cash or cheques to the ride. Cheques should be made out to “Ride For Doug” and include “Stair Lift” in the comment line.
To donate to the stair lift project online, click here.
To supporters of Ride For Doug over the past decade, Cam had this to say: “There is no way that Ride For Doug could have become what it is without you. It is a source of hope and inspiration for Doug, and behalf of his whole family, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. What you have done for him over these past 10 years cannot be expressed in words.”
At one point, Doug asked his dad if they could continue to organize Ride For Doug after a cure is found.
“He doesn’t want to give it up. He loves the people, the bikes, and the food,” Cam shared. “I would happily throw a party every year to celebrate the end of muscular dystrophy. He has nothing to worry about there.”