A group of women are ready to hop on their snowmobiles to put cancer in the rearview mirror.
© Submitted photo
Women ride along a field during a past Prairie Women on Snowmobiles mission. This year, the ride will start in Prince Albert and head south before ending in Nipawin.
Prairie Women on Snowmobiles (PWOS) will be heading out for their 14th annual eight-day mission on Jan. 31 from Prince Albert.
“We ride around the province for breast cancer research and bring awareness to early detection and how that is important for the survival rate,” PWOS president Carol Lueken said.
The ride will start in Prince Albert, head down to Martinsville, then on to Kindersley and south to Swift Current and Regina before heading back north to end the ride in Nipawin.
“We are taking the mission down to the southern part of the province,” Lueken said.
“It is something new. We haven’t been quite that far south before but we are excited to go and hoping there is still snow down there when we get there,” she added. “Probably no one else in the province likes snow but Prairie Women on Snowmobiles.”
A breast cancer survivor and one of her friends created PWOS in 2000, Lueken said.
“They decided they would put an ad in the paper to get 10 riders to ride across the province in order to bring awareness and raise some funds for research,” Lueken said.
The mission has been going strong ever since, she explained, with 10 riders heading out on the open fields every year.
“We are pretty excited that the mission this year will go to the hometown of the founder of PWOS in Regina Beach,” Lueken said. “We are excited about going there and seeing her … and taking the 14th mission on the road. She will be one of the leaders leading us into her hometown and then again leading us out.”
Not only do they travel across Saskatchewan, the women are all from communities in the province.
“They apply to be one of the core riders and they have to apply by May 1,” Lueken said. “We pick our team from the applicants that we get and then they will be chosen for one of the core riders for Mission 2015. This year we do have a rider from Birch Hills and we have also an alternate from just north of Prince Albert.”
There are many ways to support the women who are heading on the province-wide snowmobile ride.
Before they ride out, a kick-off banquet will be held at the Travelodge in Prince Albert. Lueken said tickets are available by calling her at 306-961-1994.
“If anybody wants tickets they should get some pretty soon because we are selling out,” Lueken said. “We only have about 50 tickets left so if anybody does want any they can call my number and get tickets.”
Those at the banquet can make a donation to the cause, but if someone is not able to go to the banquet, there are other ways to support the women.
“If you can’t come to the banquet, we’re going to be taking donations out on the road so come out to one of the venues and support us that way,” Lueken said. “If anyone wants to ride along, we certainly welcome support that is along the way.
“If anybody wants to hop on their sleds and join in on our mission run on our way to Shellbrook or stay with us for the day, you are more than welcome to ride along as a support rider for any part of the way you want to,” she added.
All of the money raised will stay in Saskatchewan and support breast cancer research.
“If we find a cure for breast cancer I think it should be or could be linked to all the other cancers,” Lueken said. “We are hoping that all of our work one day will help make cancer a thing of the past and no one will be dying from the dreaded disease or having to suffer like they do through the treatments and the journey they walk on when they have been diagnosed with cancer.”
“We are hoping that all the work we do and the supporters behind us as well as the supporters in front of us will make cancer history one day,” she added.
The ride wouldn’t be possible without the support of their corporate sponsors, who donated money, help keep them fueled and sponsor the team’s food and lodging.
“Without the corporate sponsorship behind us, we wouldn’t be what we are,” she said.
The PWOS will be heading out on their journey toward Shellbrook around 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 31 from R&W Custom Collision.