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Gentlemen, get your prostates checked!

"Screening (for prostate cancer) is so important. It's better to know than not know, because there are treatment options" - Dr. Michael Conlon

Amidst the cacophany of hundreds of shined-up motorcycles, and their riders revving their engines in anticipation of the launch of the 9th annual Nipissing Ride for Dad, 'Chopper' Cameron did something he had never done in the previous eight editions of the charity ride: he got on his bike and rode.

Cameron, involved in organizing the event since its inception, took a step back this year, and decided that he would finally take the opportunity to join in the fun. Cameron brought the first ride to Nipissing after receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer. Said Cameron "I was fortunate enough to retire at 55. Two weeks after my retirement, I found out the results of some tests, and that I had cancer. My whole world turned upside down.

"That first year was like a rollercoaster. I had seen the logo for the Ride for Dad, that they were trying to raise awareness, because, to be honest, I knew nothing about prostate cancer. Terry Daigle and I formed a committee, we had the first ride here in 2008, and every year it's growing," continued Cameron.

When told that many first-time riders had joined this year, Cameron expressed that that made him "very proud."

Dan Pilon (pictured in gallery) was one of those embarking on his maiden ride. Pilon, echoing a common refrain among the participants, relayed that he knows a few people that are fighting prostate cancer. "We want to support them as much as we can, and this is a great way of doing it, especially on a beautiful day like today. There are four of us riding together. We are going to take our time, and enjoy the day," said Pilon.

Click here for more coverage of prostate cancer awareness and the Ride for Dad.

Ray Yelle, co-chair of the event, was pleased with the turnout, and was confident that the 375 maximum rider limit would be reached. "From looking at registration, there are a lot of first-time riders. They have their reasons for coming, whether family members or friends affected. The more the merrier," Yelle told

The Ride for Dad will continue to accept donations. Donate here.

The overriding message of the day, was the importance of screening for prostate cancer. The assembled dignitaries each touched on this, with MP Anthony Rota sharing a personal brush with the disease from years ago.

Co-chair Terry Daigle spoke to the assembled masses about SABR, an advancement in radiation treatments that is much more precise than previous treatments. The donations from Ride for Dad have aided in bringing a pilot project to Sudbury on a two-to-five year campaign. 

Dr. Michael Conlon, a cancer researcher for the Northern Cancer Foundation, based in Sudbury, declared that screening is paramount, adding "the number one risk factor for getting prostate cancer is getting older, and we can't prevent that. If you have a family member or friend who is getting older, have the discussion about getting checked."



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Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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