• Carmen Marie Fabio

Leather meets feathers in annual Ride de Filles breast cancer fundraiser


PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

The sixth annual Ride de Filles breast cancer fundraiser took place July 12 with riders of over 150 motorcycles making their way from Brossard, through the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region, and into Montebello.

The intimidation factor of the two-kilometre long chain of motorcycle riders that snaked its way through the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region Saturday morning, July 12, was tempered with the adornment of pink clothing, feather boas, and helmets.

The 150-strong contingent of motorcyclists was embarking on the annual ‘Ride de Filles’ raising money for breast cancer research and this year’s trip took them from their starting point in Brossard with a stopover at Highway 40’s Exit 17 before finally ending up in Hawkesbury, Ontario.

“I started this six years ago with 50 girls,” said event founder Sylvie Brisebois. “We started in the rain and an hour later, it was sunny.” This year marks the first time the group will finish their ride out of province, in Ontario.

Though the final amount is expected to climb, as of press time, the group, comprised mostly of breast cancer survivors, raised approximately $45,000.

This year’s route saw the group traversing the tolls on the new Highway 30 and A30 Express, the group that manages both the roadway and toll booths, and they not only accommodated the riders by granting them access through a designated lane, they also made a donation to breast cancer research in the equivalent amount of toll paid by the riders.

“A30 Express has been operating within the region since December 2012 and we are proud to lend our support to ‘Les Filles’ for this important cause,” said A30 Express spokesperson Vanessa Miceli of the company’s quick response to the request from the group to facilitate their ride.

“We’re all closely touched by breast cancer,” said event co-organizer and St. Lazare resident Isabelle Fleury who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. “One woman in nine will develop breast cancer in her life and the younger we are, the faster the cancer spreads.”

Now in remission, Fleury underwent two radical mastectomies, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and numerous additional interventions and now attends weekly physiotherapy sessions.

“It has been and is still a rough road, but it has brought us closer together as a family.

Determination as well as support from family and friends is vital,” said Fleury, crediting her network of loved ones for helping her get through the ordeal. The mother of two daughters, she said women, and mothers in particular, are usually the ones giving to others and forget to take time for themselves.

“I urge every woman, young and old, check your breasts and do what you can to take care of yourself,” she said, acknowledging her sickness as a significant wakeup call to make her own health a priority. “If you find something, don’t hesitate. Go see a doctor.”

One hundred percent of the funds raised on the ‘Ride de Filles’ goes to breast cancer research. “I do it for my daughters and for all the women out there to make sure we can find a cure or, make treatments easier,” said Fleury, describing how her treatment was easier to endure than those diagnosed and treated as little as a decade ago. “They’ve found new markers so not everybody needs chemo anymore. The survival rate has increased thanks to prevention and education.

Brisebois has already started planning next year’s event, a logistical process she works on almost daily. Accompanied by a large pink motorhome leading the way equipped with information and medical instruction breast self-examination, the contingent of riders and security detail, who all paid $100 to take part in the ride, is expected to grow annually. Prior to leaving, the group reviews the route and itinerary as well as discussing security and safety issues.

For more information on the Ride de Filles, consult: http://rubanrose. org/Ride_de_filles_2014-en-238.

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