Doug Penner received a huge lift from his merry band of leather-clad supporters Sunday.
The 13-year-old Langley boy has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) which, notes Muscular Dystrophy Canada, is an inherited disorder. The muscles become weaker as the patient gets older.
Doug is the inspiration behind Ride For Doug, a motorcycle cruise through the Fraser Valley which marked its 10th year June 5.
Over the first nine years of the ride, participants have helped to raise in excess of $150,000 for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
Some of the funds from this year’s ride are earmarked for a stair lift so Doug 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,” Doug’s dad Cam shared. “A stair lift will move Doug from floor to floor, giving him back his independence.”
The family has received quotes of between $23,000 and $28,000 to fit one to their stairway.
Funding is available, but very limited, and the Penners have been told to expect no more than $6,000 to $10,000 between health insurance, and various charity applications.
This leaves a shortfall that could be as large as $20,000.
For Doug, and Muscular Dystrophy Canada, the riders came through in a big way, departing one bike at a time from the South Langley Church parking lot just after 1 p.m.
“Eighty-nine bikes showed up to Ride For Doug,” Cam said.
Under a burning late spring sun, the convoy rode for just under four hours, covering 200 kilometres of asphalt along the way with two rest stops, en route to Cascade Falls Regional Park east of Mission.
“It was hot,” Cam related. “Really hot.”
Cam described his emotions as the motorcycles left the church: “We are then off. Eighty-nine motorcycles strong, leaving the lot in a show of power. One of their own has a tough battle ahead, and every one of the riders is proving they are riding with Doug. He is not alone.”
“This next week, while at the hospital hooked up to his weekly IV, he won’t be thinking about muscular dystrophy. He will be sharing the tales of the road. Talking about who showed up, who got a new bike this year, and planning and scheming on how to get one of his own.”
This year’s Ride For Doug raised $34,000.
These funds are being divvied up between the stair lift project for Doug, and Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
And more money is coming in.
“There is not a powerful enough word for ‘thank you’ that I can use here,” Cam said. “It’s no wonder Doug is in the constant good spirits he is. He knows who is with him. He knows that when the rubber hits the road, friends and family like this will be there.”