Cancer bikers get new homeThe location has changed, but Bikers for Boobs will ride next month. The annual fundraiser that supports local breast cancer patients through Essentia Health’s Breast Health Center takes place Sept. 7 at the Checkerboard Bar in South Range.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The location has changed, but Bikers for Boobs will ride next month.
The annual fundraiser that supports local breast cancer patients through Essentia Health’s Breast Health Center takes place Sept. 7 at the Checkerboard Bar in South Range.
For the last five years, the ride started at Rapids Riverside. When the establishment changed hands this year, the event was temporarily homeless.
That’s when Ron Cairns of Highland stepped forward. Others have put “too much work into this run to have it pushed to the curb and forgotten about,” he said.
Cairns has ridden in the event in past years because, he said, it’s for a good cause. “Let’s see if we can keep this going.”
The Checkerboard Bar was a good fit for the ride. It has already hosted five poker runs this year, according to manager Art Morgan.
Participation in each run varies, he said, “but this one will probably be the biggest.”
About 500 riders took part in last year’s Bikers for Boobs event, Cairns said. They raised more than $10,000 for the Breast Health Center.
“It was huge,” said Charity Rupp with the Essential Health Foundation. She said she wasn’t sure what would happen to the event this year until she got the call from Cairns.
“I was really excited when he contacted me and told me he was going to continue that,” she said.
Money raised through Bikers for Boobs will stay in the area, providing a helping hand to patients undergoing breast cancer treatment through the Compassionate Care Fund. That money is used to provide gas cards for travel to and from treatment or buy a prosthetic for a patient who can’t afford one.
“This is neighbors helping neighbors, the people next door,” Rupp said, and the money can make a radical difference. For example, she said, patients who can’t afford to travel to Duluth for radiation multiple times a week may have to choose a double mastectomy instead.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women except for skin cancers and the second leading cause of cancer death in women, according to the American Cancer Society. Nationwide, one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
The disease is widespread, Rupp said, and it affects so many individuals, families and friends.
Morgan knows breast cancer survivors. He said he supports the ride because the money helps local people.
This year’s Bikers for Boobs event begins at noon from the Checkerboard Bar, 3957 S. County Road E. The riders will cover about 100 miles — to the Battle Axe Saloon in Iron River, R-Cs Decoy Inn in Barnes and the Gravel Pit Tavern in Poplar — before returning to the Checkerboard for food, prizes and live music by local bands Breakdown and Fired Up. Having fewer stops will allow participants to stay longer at each, Cairns said, and take part in activities like bike games. He expected the run to last about six hours.
The cost to participate is $20 with $5 going toward a poker hand and $15 to the Breast Health Center. Registration begins at 10 a.m. Sept. 7 at the Checkerboard. More information and online registration, go to bikersforboobs.kintera.org. The event also has a Facebook page. T-shirts, printed by Shirts Unlimited of South Range, are available at the Checkerboard until supplies run out — $12 for a T-shirt, $15 for a ladies’ shirt and $40 for a hoodie — with all proceeds going to the Breast Health Center.
Although it’s a new location and date, Cairns said he hopes past Bikers for Boobs participants will return this year.
“They’re all supporters of the cause,” he said.