Harley-Davidson Pretoria hosted a very special 13th International Female Ride Day

Riders with a cause

Harley-Davidson Pretoria hosted a very special 13th International Female Ride Day

On Saturday May 4 2019, dozens of South African riders donned tutus, wings and feathers for the 13th International Female Ride Day. The annual ride aims to awareness to help tackle cancer, and to show support for those affected by the disease.

This year saw 207 bikes taking to the streets in waves of pink, purple, yellow, green and blue, with costumes ranging from ballerinas to ladybirds and bees. Joining the host chapter, H.O.G.® Pretoria, were the Clearwater and Johannesburg chapters, and because it was an ’open ride’, friends and supporters from Steelwings Pretoria and Ulysses South Africa were also there to do their bit. We were blessed to have three LOH® Officers in attendance representing their chapters: Elle, Stephanie and Colette.

Coming together
The ride went off without a hitch, thanks to the huge effort from the H.O.G.® marshals. They were supported by emergency response personnel from Emer-G-Med, who looked after the safety of the riders. The ladies from H.O.G.® Pretoria dutifully manned the registration stall, making sure that riders were welcomed and assisted

Once all had arrived back at the Harley Davidson® dealership, colourful balloons were distributed and released all at once while riders revved their bikes, doing the impressive ‘CANCER ROAR’!

Sharing stories
A number of riders had very personal reasons for being involved in the day. Gerrie Wannenburg from Montana in Pretoria explained the significance of his motorcycle’s number plate. He was riding for Adele Crear, who suffers from bone cancer, Cornelia Grobler, who was fighting breast cancer, Anni Grobler, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 but was now in remission and his good friend Allen, who had bone marrow cancer.

Valerie Mdhluli, Salomie Jafta, Bella Mfenyana and Annekie Pretorius from Harley-Davidson® Johannesburg attended the ride to show solidarity and support to sufferers and survivors. Naomi Vom Hagen spoke about her 48 year old sister Ilza Brits, who had died of a melanoma just days before the ride.  

Riders Tshidi Tshidzumba, Shamiso Gusha, Gale Green, DEE, Pat Watson, Shireen Tank, Lucy Nel and Adel Beirowski from Harley-Davidson® Clearwater were there to support women, family and in-laws who were affected by cancer. Both Gale and Pat lost their fathers to cancer, while Shamiso had a cancer scare earlier in the year. She said that after seeing the support and love from others, she wasn’t afraid anymore. Janice Malgas showed her support by way of a sign dedicated to her loved ones.

All for charity
There were some great fundraising initiatives on the day to support this most worthy of causes, with all funds going to charity Cancervive. Debbie Baillie, a volunteer and manager at Cancervive, explained that the charity focuses on supporting cancer patients and survivors, and on educating people on early detection of cancer through care sessions and wellness days hosted at schools, clinics, government hospitals and rural areas. Debbie said that the charity was looking to renovate a rural clinic in August 2019 to create a safe zone for cancer patients to receive treatment and support, without having to worry about money.

Debbie had her own personal link to the cause: she lost her father to cancer 4 years ago and realised that she had very little knowledge of the disease, which moved her to get involved with Cancervive.

 

Generous spirits
The charity depends entirely on donations to fund their work, and so, in the spirit of giving (for which motorcycle riders are renowned!), Cancervive had an information kiosk where you could buy bits and bobs while the staff imparted some very useful information on cancer. All funds raised went to Cancervive outreach and information.

George Hansen from Harley-Davidson® Pretoria kindly donated a leather waistcoat signed by the legendary Willy G. Davidson, for auction. Tony Raffa won the auction and then, in true philanthropist style, donated it right back, to be auctioned again. Meanwhile, registered participants went into a lucky draw for some awesome prizes.

After the formalities, friends and families enjoyed the warm weather, good food and live music well into the afternoon. All looking forward to doing it again next year!