Doug Penner is a car guy who is four months away from the ‘most important’ of all dates. His 16th birthday, and ultimately acquisition of his first vehicle. But there’s a glitch. It has to be able to accommodate Doug’s power wheelchair. (Theresa Wiebe Photography)

Cruising the Valley and outfitting a ride for Doug

This year’s fundraiser about finding and converting a vehicle for charity ride namesake Doug Penner.

This year, there’s going to be options.

Riders can once again help a Langley boy raise money for Muscular Dystrophy Canada, or specifically they can help Doug Penner and his family raise money to convert a new vehicle for wheelchair accessibility.

Approaching his 16th birthday this fall, Doug – a self-proclaimed ‘car guy’ – longs for the days that he can go cruising in something other than just his power wheelchair.

His family and friends want to help make that dream a reality. But finances are stand in the way.

In fact, Doug just recently received his first power chair, and the family does not have a vehicle capable of carrying it – let along one Doug will be physically able to drive when he’s of legal driving age, Dad explained.

While the family is saving to buy the new vehicle, they’re asking for help to cover the costs of converting it.

So ahead of the annual Ride for Doug, participants and sponsors alike coaxed the Penners to ask for help. And participants will be given the option to donate to MDC or to the vehicle conversion.

At this point, Cam doesn’t know how much money is needed to modify a vehicle for Doug, but he’s set a goal of $25,000.

Go Fund Me page

“We don’t know what that means as far as additional accessibility modifications,” Dad elaborated.

“He’ll need a power ramp and doors, but until he gets his ‘L,’ we can’t even make the appointment to be assessed for needs. All we know for sure is that it’s going to be expensive,” explained Cam, who was inspired to start the fundraising ride after his son, Doug, was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) at the age of two.

With this disease, the muscles become weaker as the patient gets older, as is the case for Doug.

“He is slowly losing his independence,” Dad noted. “He is still able to walk, but the distances become shorter, and it is taking him longer and longer.”

Receiving the power chair has left Doug with mixed feelings.

“On the one hand, it allows him to keep up with others. On the other hand – to quote him – he ‘feels even more disabled’,” Cam shared.

“We would really like to give him every possible opportunity to drive,” Dad added.

.

Ride set for June 1

Since Ride for Doug was launched in Langley 12 years ago, it has raised more than $220,000 for MDC.

Two years ago, again with some severe prodding, the family asked riders for help Doug, specifically.

At that time, Doug faced increased mobility issues and getting up and down the stairs of their Langley home became near impossible. So the Penners were talked into fundraising for a stair lift. That year, $13,500 was raised for the lift.

RELATED: Lift brings new freedoms to Langley boy’s life

Cam doesn’t know how many riders will be taking part in this year’s Ride for Doug, which happens in a couple weeks, nor how much will be fundraised.

The inaugural ride saw 17 riders. Last year, there were 78 cyclists, and a few times through the years there have been in excess of a hundred.

LAST YEAR: Child-inspired motorcycle ride cruises through Langley, raising $26,500 for muscular dystrophy

Depending on weather, Cam said he’s hoping to see as many as 120 fellow motorcycle enthusiasts hit the road with them this year.

Ride for Doug 2018 is once again being held on the first Sunday of next month (June 3). It starts and finishes at the South Langley Church, at 20098 22nd Ave.

The ride kicks off at exactly 1 p.m. and will take motorcyclists on a three- to four-hour ride through the rural areas of the Fraser Valley before returning to the Langley church for a barbecue.

For more information or registration, visit: www.ridefordoug.com.

RELATED: Restored drug boosts spirit of Langley’s Ride for Doug namesake

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Doug Penner is a car guy who is four months away from the ‘most important’ of all dates. His 16th birthday, and ultimately acquisition of his first vehicle. But there’s a glitch. It has to be able to accommodate Doug’s power wheelchair. (Theresa Wiebe Photography)

Doug Penner is a car guy who is four months away from the ‘most important’ of all dates. His 16th birthday, and ultimately acquisition of his first vehicle. But there’s a glitch. It has to be able to accommodate Doug’s power wheelchair. (Theresa Wiebe Photography)

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