Articles / 2016
Heels & Wheels Rev Up Breast Cancer Awareness with Charity Ride
Ventura County Star
by Michele Willer-Allred, Special to The Star
Ventura County Star
by Tom Kisken
Close to 200 mostly female motorcycle riders in pink took to the streets Sunday morning to participate in a local ride to support and raise funds for breast cancer awareness and screenings.
Dressed in pink T-shirts, ribbons, fairy wings and even tutus, the group began their hour and a half ride at Ventura Harley-Davidson in Camarillo for the 11th annual Heels & Wheels motorcycle ride sponsored by the Ventura HOG Chapter Ladies of Harley.
They rode through Pacific Coast Highway and back to Simi Valley, where they were treated to lunch by the Simi Valley Elks Club.
Money raised goes to The Breast Center at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura for mammograms, biopsies and surgical interventions for women who lack access, funds, or insurance for these lifesaving treatments.
Over the years, the group has raised over $66,000 for Community Memorial through participation fees and prize raffle tickets.
"The event has really blossomed over the years," said event chairwoman Barbara Carr. "Everyone has a lot of fun though for a good cause."
This year's event grand marshal was Ventura resident Donna Buchalter, 73, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and still undergoing treatment.
She started riding motorcycles about ten years ago after she became tired of riding on the back of her husband's bike.
"I wanted to be in control," said Buchalter with a laugh.
Buchalter continued to ride after her cancer diagnosis.
Recent back surgery prevented Buchalter from riding on Sunday, but she led the group in her white sport utility vehicle decorated in pink.
Many riding were cancer survivors themselves or know someone with cancer.
This was the fourth year cancer survivor Monica Picard, of Ventura, participated in the event. Picard said she has seen how breast cancer has affected friends and patients she has helped as a nurse.
"It's an evil disease and we're just praying for that cure," Picard said. "Events like this help so everyone can get screened. There's no excuse not to."
Kathy Wallis-Dari, of Camarillo, also participated and said she enjoyed the atmosphere.
"It's awesome," Wallis-Dari said. "Everyone honks and waves, and it's great that it raises awareness."
Some men even participated in the event, such as Don Kapp, of Simi Valley, who donned a pink T-shirt and a "Man enough to wear pink" button. He rode his own motorcycle behind one ridden by his wife Stefanie Kapp and daughter Kayla Kapp, 14.
Rachel Lindsay Sanchez, of Simi Valley, who rode in the event with husband Danny Sanchez and son Vinnie Sanchez, said she was excited to ride but that she remembered why they were there.
"As we ride, I plan on keeping all my friends and others on my mind who have fought breast cancer and continue to fight," she said.