In Memoriam - Calgary

In memory of Fred McHenry

The 2011 Calgary Motorcycle Ride For Dad has been dedicated to Fred McHenry. Lynda McHenry is Fred’s youngest daughter and was accompanied by her sister Helen to tell their story on Ride Day.

In the past, it would have been their oldest sister Maureen who would give a presentation like this, however they lost her to Breast Cancer five years ago at age 46, a month before their nephew’s high school graduation.

Many years ago, Fred’s mother succumbed to painful bone metastases from breast cancer. Fred’s sister passed away at age 47 from ovarian cancer. Fred’s daughter Lynda was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer at age 38, and unfortunately Fred passed away with prostate cancer about 4 weeks ago.

The past 7 months have been a hellish journey for the McHenry family. They watched their Dad go from prime physical condition to constantly vomiting, withering away to a thin shadow of his former self. In January, he broke his foot and knee due to his bone METS and a fall. He was confined to a wheel chair. But, as a warrior, he marched onwards regaining the ability to walk only to fall one final time in May, hitting his head.

It is an awful thing to think this was a blessing to put him out of his misery. We are kinder to our pets in that we are able to put and end to their suffering.

Lynda believes that her Dad’s death is in no way a loss to cancer. He was a true warrior and was victorious for 14 years. He out smarted the disease over and over again. He lived a high quality life, which included tennis and red wine until September 2010. 
Fred chose to be aggressive about his treatment options. He challenged his oncologists. Truthfully, he broke them in like horses.

Lynda is now living proof that early detection saves lives. She feels like she won the lottery. She didn’t have to go through chemotherapy. Early detection spared her the perils of radiation. For that she is truly grateful.

The McHenry family would like to remind all men that a prostate exam is only an intimate 60 seconds of discomfort with your doctor. A PSA test is just another kind of poke. Both can save your hide.
Who knows what Fred’s options would have been had early detection tests been available over 40 years ago, as they are today? Early detection is the best cure!

In honor of Fred’s Irish heritage we leave you with a McHenry version of an:

Irish 'Road' Blessing: 
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine down upon your face.
And the rain fall soft upon your fields
Until we meet again
May God hold your prostate in the palm of his hand

In memory of Jack Deans

Jack Deans was told her had cancer in July of 2008 and was given a bleak prognosis of only a few months. He underwent chemo treatments throughout the winter, hoping this would buy him a bit of time. All the while, Jack kept a positive attitude and kept busy with his projects in the shop and daily coffee with his friends.

While attending the Calgary Motorcycle Show in January 2009, Jack and both his son and grandson visited the Ride for Dad display. This was the first they had heard of our event, but it was at this point that they made a commitment to ride in the 2009 Ride for Dad.

Jack’s goal was to raise enough money to make it into the Motorcycle Ride for Dad Captain’s Club. Over the next few months both Jack and his son raised money as riders, and other family members joined in as Ride for Dad Champions. Using the online donation system, Jack took great pleasure in checking the families’ progress on a daily basis. After collecting numerous cash donations from his daily “Coffee Crew” and a number of online donations, he raised over $2000 – both father and son had now made it into our Captain’s Club!

Finding that he was lacking the strength to ride his Silverwing, Jack began his quest for something more stable starting with the purchase of a Piaggio at the Motorcycle Show! He had second thoughts on this being the right ride so he cancelled his purchase and began the hunt for a side car for his Silverwing.

Early spring rolled around and Jack ended up purchasing a Vulcan 800 complete with a sidecar. Unfortunately by this time Jack’s condition began deteriorating rapidly and manoeuvring the new bike was beginning to get difficult for him.

Not one to give up, Jack decided that he would build a trailer to haul the bike to the Ride for Dad starting point. He and his son completed the trailer a week prior to the ride, but that Tuesday, Jack had gone in the hospital. His doctor had promised that he would do whatever it took to get Jack out by the weekend. Regrettably, this was not to be.

Jack’s son drove to Calgary in the snow on the morning of the 2009 Ride for Dad. He submitted their donations and registered the both for the event. He purchased pins, patches, and shirts which were proudly and promptly displayed in Jack’s room at the Vulcan Hospital. Jack passed away three days later.

The Ride for Dad was the perfect project for a man who lives his life to the fullest, with a passion for anything with an engine: from his antique cars, to his Aero Coupe air plane and many different motorcycles over the last 45 years.

Jack’s son Joel now rides the Vulcan 800 with great pride, as it has truly captured the spirit and the name, of the Motorcycle Ride for Dad.