$15,106 raised in annual ‘Walk or Ride for Care’

14 years ago

CARIBOU, Maine — Regardless of what any fashion magazine may say, pink was the new black on Oct. 2 as about 230 men and women ranging from very young to the … over 29 … participated in the 18th annual “Walk or Ride for Care” organized by the Cary Medical Center Auxiliary. The popular event raised a total of $15,106.89 for the Breast Cancer Foundation and promoted general breast cancer awareness.

“It’s exciting to see so many people involved, supporting the event and anticipating their walk or ride,” said Auxiliary President Alyson Masse, adding that a highlight of the event was seeing the walkers and riders mingle before their treks kicked off.

While the event was filled with many friendly faces of the community, this was the 10th and last year for exceptional fund-raiser Nancy Morneault of North Caribou, who raised nearly $70,000 single-handedly during her decade of participation with the event including over $5,700 that she’s raised for the cause this year.

In appreciation of her efforts, officials of the Cary Medical Center and its auxiliary put up a plaque in the Cary Radiology Department last year “to honor and recognize Nancy for her continued dedication and support over the years of the Walk for Care,” said Tami Kilcollins of the Cary public relations office.

According to Morneault, the yearly fund-raising has been a lot of work, but it’s afforded her numerous opportunities to make a lot of friends. Inspired by her husband, Paul Moraneault’s, battle with cancer, she began participating in the walk in 2000.

The $5,700 raised by Morneault made her the top fund-raiser; employees of MMA came in second place with $2,750 and Cary doctors Regen Gallagher and Shawn Lafferriere came in third place.

The two-mile walk started across from the American Legion in downtown Caribou and wound its way up to the Cary Medical Center for a reception in the Chan Room. Walkers were joined for lunch by about 30 individuals who decided to participate in the newly created “ride” portion of the “Walk or Ride for Care,” taking a trip on their motorcycles from downtown Caribou through Limestone and Van Buren before returning to the hospital for lunch.

As a first year addition to the event, organizers and participants quickly learned that a brisk autumn day that’s great for the walkers had potential to leave the riders with chattering teeth. While the riders of the Pine State Motorcycle Club and the American Legion Riders of Caribou did have red faces and icy hands after their ride, it didn’t faze their participation.

“The crisp fall weather turned out great for the walkers,” said Kilcollins. “It was a bit chilly and windy for the riders, but they were all prepared with riding leathers and proper clothing.”

Not only were the riders dressed for the weather, they were also dressed for the cause with pink bandanas tied around the heavy leather jackets on their upper arms. If by chance someone hadn’t seen the breast cancer flag flying from the back of Karla St. Peter’s bike, the arm bands made it very clear that their trek was more than an average Saturday ride.

Some motorcyclists showed their passion for pink a little more than others, as encouraged by event organizers and reinforced with a contest to see who could best demonstrate the breast cancer awareness theme on their person and vehicle. An incentive to have fun with the fundraiser, a couple magenta motorcycle mamas donned some creatively pink apparel to compete for a Plourde and Plourde gift certificate.

An example as to just how steep the competition was — Colleen Sutherland, runner up, was wearing a baby-pink breast cancer awareness riding suit with pink ribbons attached to her helmet.

So just how extreme was the winner?

First-placer Gail Phair-Kirk, of Limestone, has a motorcycle decked out with a breast cancer awareness theme. It’s a hot-pink bike with a vanity plate that says awareness (in not so many letters). Topping it off with some pink shades, a pink trimmed coat and pink accessories —imagine a motorcycle and matching outfit designed for Barbie®.

Pink pride wasn’t just for the ladies as both men and women waited their turn to add a name of their loved ones affected with breast cancer onto the “Ride for Care” flag.

“The ‘Ride for Care’ flag was signed by about 50 people in memory of or in honor or a loved one or friend who had lost the battle with breast cancer, survived the fight or the name of individuals who’ve worked to raise breast cancer awareness,” said Kilcollins. “This is the first year the flag was used and the flag signing tradition will continue on next year.”

The Walk or Ride for Care has become a staple event of a Caribou fall and has become imbedded in the hearts participants and organizers.

“Some Auxiliary members have battled with breast cancer and others have had their lives touched by the disease,” explained Masse. “Over the years, the walk has become almost a personal event for many Auxiliary members and it’s always well received by the community,” she added.

Whether individuals walked, rode or sponsored a participant, the event has been deemed a delightful success — a testament to the teamwork responsible for that success, Masse even joked that if any of the walkers needed a ride back to the starting line for their vehicles, the motorcyclists would be happy to oblige.