Quick editorial note:
Even though I attended the Military Minds Inc Poker Run the week before this one, this event has a fundraising link that is only open until 15 Sept 2016. I choose to do this post sooner than later so that people have the option to donate. Please consider supporting the kids with a tax deductible donation.
The weather in Alberta is always a fickle beast – constantly changing and rarely predictable. Such is the way the ride to the 2016 Erin Doyle Memorial ride started off. It rained, almost all morning. Then just as the ride started, it stopped…. Perfect.
The Erin Doyle Memorial Poker run is an annual event executed by the Veteran Paratroopers Motorcycle Club. The last couple years they have fundraised for The Kids with Cancer Society, and have local DJ Terry Evans (K97) as their Honourary Ride Captain. This is my second year being able to attend.
The Kids with Cancer fundraisers hit me in a special spot. Through the invitation of my friend at Cycle Works Edmonton, I popped in to their “parade of heroes” in 2015. I didn’t stick around long, but it was long enough to realize something that I am not afraid to admit – these kids make me feel like a wuss (sometimes I use the words “whiny bitch”). I have mentioned before the mathematics of it – I am 45, have had Cancer for 2 years (and a bit) – so less than 5% of my life. Most of these kids are not even teenagers, and have been dealing with it for 50% or more of their life.
I think what hits me the hardest is that they don’t know a life without Cancer.
The Kids with Cancer society works to help kids be kids. Helps them and their families try to establish some “normal” in their lives. The kids use beads to track the number of treatments/procedures, most of them easily have gone through waaaay more events than I have. I have done over 30 in 2 years, and I thought that it was a big number… I realize now – I am a wuss. They can use our support, they deserve it. One of the photos that scrolls through the 3 on the home page of the Kids with Cancer society website (middle one) shows a youngster with his string of beads. There is no way you can look at it and not get hit in the feels.
Erin Doyle has a slight hometown connection to me – not a big one… I grew up near the town he came from before he became a soldier. When I was moving to Edmonton in 2014, my sister had emailed me a copy of the 2014 ride poster asking – “why doesn’t Kamloops do something like this in his memory?” I responded with my classic “I dunno”. Erin was part of Edmonton Garrison when he was deployed, so it only makes sense that his brothers-in-arms would launch an event in his memory.
This event was run identical to last year – by that, I mean very well. I know the amount of effort that gets put into organizing and executing an event, and this one is huge. The rain had an impact on rider attendance, which sucks because it if the organizers have the plan for 200, and only 130 show up, it “feels” like a failure to those that put their hard work into it. You can tell that the little details were coordinated to include some really, really, prime parking in Gibbons. I know it took a couple of people who were with us a little bit by surprise. But when you take care of all the little details, the big details get taken care of automatically. Trust me on that… .
But for those of use that attended, it was great. As I mentioned, the rain stopped as they were forming up the departure blocks (I was block 3 which meant I went counterclockwise around the route) with our VPMC member Road Captains to keep us from making wrong turns. We went on a 250 km loop to pick up our cards, with only occasional sprinkles of water. I took my rain pants off in Egremont.
So overall, my poker hand really, really, kinda sucked… but I ended up with a couple of face cards, so I don’t think I had the worst possible hand.
But again, here is the Fundraising Link and I encourage people to donate, or at least share this post so that others can learn about what the Kids with Cancer society does for kids.
For my friends in Kamloops, maybe it is time that someone starts organizing something there.
As always, thanks for reading this far, please consider sharing, donating, and supporting endeavors that help kids live a lifestyle that is kid friendly. Maybe next year, I will try to video a bunch of footage and give you a “motovlog”.