Women are gearing up and revving their engines to take on the snowy Caribou Hills and support cancer patients at the same time, at this weekend’s Way Out Women annual snowmachine ride.
The WOW ride is held every year to raise money for cancer patients on the Kenai Peninsula and gather bands of women to saddle their snowmachines and even dress in costume for a ride through the hills.
“The really awesome part of this is the entire community gets involved in this so that all of overhead is covered and every cent raised by the riders goes into the fund,” said Glenna MacDermaid, assistant chair for the event and office coordinator for the oncology department at Central Peninsula General Hospital.
Money raised by the event is used to help local cancer patients cover expenses such as transportation to and from Anchorage and medications that might not be covered through insurance.
Even for insured cancer patients, many expenses fall through the cracks, said Kathy Lopeman, chair for the event and an oncology nurse at CPGH.
Last year the event raised over $26,000 to help cancer patients from ages eight to 80 deal with a wide range of hardships.
One of the patients to be helped by funds from last year’s event was a cancer patient who lived in a cabin without running water. Cancer treatments weakened his immune system and he required a standard of hygiene that included running water.
Thanks to help from funds gathered by last year’s WOW ride he was able to move into an apartment with running water, MacDermaid said.
Another patient helped by funds from last year’s event, 9-year-old Dalton Lourke, will ride with his mother and hand out awards during the event.
“He’s in remission now and we’re really thrilled he can help us this year,” Lopeman said.
The fundraising event goes a long way in helping local patients and family members drained both financially and emotionally by their traumatic experiences with cancer, Lopeman said.
Saturday’s ride begins at the Straight Inn Lodge in the Caribou Hills at 11 a.m. and lasts until 2 p.m., but will be proceeded by a Meet and Greet event at the lodge from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday and a breakfast at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“It’s a really neat event and everybody seems to have a really good time for a really good reason,” Lopeman said.
A $100 entry fee includes a goody bag, t-shirt and a chance to win prizes for best costume. A limited number of snowmachines are available for participants who do not have their own.
To participate in the event, riders can sign up at www.cpgh.org or call the CPGH oncology department at 714-4490.
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