Since the beginning, Northern Ontario football legend, Tom “Timber” Graham was a big supporter of the annual Papa Joe Memorial Ride for Cancer. Even though he didn’t own a motorcycle or even ride them, his son Jeff Graham says he enjoyed volunteering with admission to the event.
“My brother Greg and I tagged along with Timber to the Papa Joe Ride a few times,” Jeff says. “It’s an amazing event to be a part of. It would take Dad an hour to walk across Zorba’s Grill stopping to talk to everyone there! He seemed to know everyone.”
In the spring of 2013 Timber was diagnosed with blood cancer, and sadly lost his battle this February. In Timber’s honour, Jeff will be taking over his father’s volunteer duties for the 20th annual Papa Joe Memorial Ride for Cancer, The Final Journey, on Saturday, May 24th.
Event co-founder Diana Lefebvre explains this is the last year for the the day-long motorcycle journey from North Bay to Mattawa and back. “We’ve done our thing and it’s time,” Diana says. “The Final Journey will be bittersweet, but it will be nice to see all the familiar faces one last time.”
“Since 1999, the Papa Joe Memorial Ride has raised over $291,000 toward the building of the new North Bay Regional Health Centre, as well as need medical equipment for cancer care,” says Don Lefebvre, son of the late Joseph A. Lefebvre (Papa Joe). Funds raised at The Final Journey will complete the commitment to the Seeing More Clearly campaign for diagnostic imaging equipment including the MRI. This equipment is critical to the early diagnosis and intervention of a variety of cancers, saving lives.
“We’re anticipating a great turnout this year for The Final Journey. Lots of faces we haven’t seen in a while. Riders will register and depart from the Metro Foods parking lot. This year the ride will parade through Downtown North Bay for the Annual Car & Bike Show: Cruisin’ Downtown 6. When we return from Mattawa the festivities will begin at Zorba’s Grill (formerly Grannittis Restorante),” the Lefebvre’s explain.
Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. at the Metro Foods parking lot, 390 Lakeshore Drive. Registration is $30.00 per rider, which includes your registration fee, a memorial patch, the great bikers beach BBQ, hog roast and buffet and first-class entertainment from Jake Thomas & the Fundamentals, Trout Lake Monsters and SAB. Participants who raise over $60.00 in pledges receive free entrance.
The Ride would not be possible without the support of generous sponsors: Tremblay Chev Pont Buick GMC, U-Need-A-Cab 497-7777, Moose FM 106.3 and True Centre Muffler & Brakes.
Rev your engines and join over 400 motorcyclists for The Final Journey of the Papa Joe Memorial Ride for Cancer.
His legend rides on!
About The Papa Joe Memorial Ride for Cancer: This highly anticipated event grew from humble beginnings to now be the largest organized motorcycle ride in Northeastern Ontario. After Joseph A. Lefebvre (Papa Joe) lost his battle with cancer in 1993, eight of his close friends got together a year later and rode their bikes in his memory. What started out as a grassroots project has grown tremendously. This event is a fitting tribute for a man who loved to ride.
Don & Diana Lefebvre
Co-Founders, 20th Annual Papa Joe Lefebvre Memorial Ride, The Final Journey
The late Tom “Timber” Graham (right), taking admission at the Papa Joe Lefebvre Ride with Don and Leo Lefebvre. After 20 years, The Final Journey will take place Saturday, May 24th.