Last weekend, I had the pleasure of supporting my partner on his fundraising journey in aid of Prostate cancer and Men’s mental health, at the annual Distinguished Gentleman’s ride in London.
Founder In Sydney, Australia 5 years ago by fellow Aussie Mark Hawwa, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was born when Mark was inspired by a photo of Mad Men’s Don Draper astride a classic bike and wearing his finest suit.
After a successful first ride where over 64 cities and 2,500 participants took part, Mark decided that it was all very well and good riding ‘dapper’ but wouldn’t it be better and more fulfilling to ride and support a cause at me Thus ‘Dapper for a cause’ was officially born.
In the beginning Mark’s charity focused on raising money for Prostate cancer charities all over the world.
In 2015, over 37,000 participants in 410 cities in 79 countries raised over $2.3M (US) for prostate cancer research. – Taken from the Gentleman’s ride website
- In the UK, about 1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives.
- Men aged 50 or over, men with a family history of prostate cancer and Black men are more at risk of getting prostate cancer.
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.
- Over 47,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that’s 130 men every day.
- Every hour one man dies from prostate cancer – that’s more than 10,800 men every year.
- Over 330,000 men are living with and after prostate cancer.
(Facts taken from the Prostate Cancer UK website)
This year saw a change to the charities health goals. Now, in addition to prostate cancer research, the loss of a ride host to suicide through depression saw the funding of suicide prevention programs become a DGR focus, in collaboration with their new official charity partner The Movember Foundation, along with the support of title sponsors Triumph Motorcycles and Zenith Watches.
Men’s Mental Health programs
- 1 in 8 men in the UK have experienced a mental health problem
- On average 13 men each day take their life through suicide in the UK
- Male suicide rate in 2013 was the highest since 2001
There are a number of factors that have been linked to an increased risk of suicide, including:
- Previous family or personal history of mental illness
- Harmful drug and alcohol use
- Isolation or loneliness
- Ongoing stressful life situations such as unemployment, relationship difficulties or chronic health issues
(Taken from the Movember Foundation website)
We began our ride by meeting with the many dapper Gentleman (and ladies for that matter) at London Olympia. It was such an amazing sight, all the men dressed dapper from all eras of life. The array of men, women and well dress bikes for that matter was immense. Julian was definitely in his element.
I fell completely in love with one man and his Dachshund, whom he said loves to ride on his motorbike with him and even donned his own little jacket and riding googles.
We departed around 11am in groups of 50 to allow for not slowing down the Capitals traffic too much and set out to alight the streets in our dapper attire bikes included. We adorned ‘Fjordbjorn’, with his own personal moustache as well. After all the bikes were our steads for the day, and we entrusted them to get us to our end destination of Hanover Street.
Travelling from London Olympia, to Trafalgar square through Pall Mall and onto our final stopping place.
What made it so amazing, was friends and family often go to these rides and stand at various “checkpoints” cheering us on. Many complete strangers stood taking pictures and filming the spectacular men and women in their fanciest clothing riding through London. Buses even allowed for us to manoeuvre around them and continue on the cause. People came out of their houses and waved at us from their balcony windows, all of this added to the atmosphere of the day.
I was just glad the weather held out and by the time we reached Hanover Street the sun just broke out through the clouds adorning us with warmth, as if to say good job everyone a ride well done.
So what now?
There is still time to donate directly on the gentleman’s ride website here as they are raising money for their charities until the 31st October, or if you would like to donate directly to Julian, you can do so on his personal Just giving page.
So far, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride has raised $3,449,484 USD globally with a target of $5,000,000 and I know I’d love to see them reach or even surpass this target.
Julian is continuing to raise money for the cause until the end of November, in support of Movember. He is currently teaching his work colleagues to ‘Dance Dapper’, by teaching them to dance the Argentine Tango whilst dressing dapper each week, which helps him to promote both the charities and our dance school Mirrors Dance. The entire dance cause last 7 weeks in line with the 1 in 7 men diagnosed with Prostate cancer within their lifetime.
All of the proceeds that would usually go towards hall hire and Julian’s instructor wages will be donated to Dapper for a Cause, and all going well he may well consider opening the ‘Dance Dapper’ cause to those who may be interested next year.*Watch this space*. You can also follow Julian’s efforts via his instagram @julian_klepac.
All in all, it was the perfect day. We spoke to so many interesting people, and there were some really fab characters all enjoying their motorcycling hobby and knowing they were doing something amazing at the same time.
The 2016 ride was amazing, we were novices, but I definitely think we will be joining again next year and raising much more funds to help men everywhere fight and have many more dapper years.
“We ride to make a difference.” – Julian Klepac
Want to find out more about Mark and The Distinguished Gentleman’s ride, visit the website https://www.gentlemansride.com/. Have you or someone you know been affected by Prostate cancer, feel free to share you experiences below or simply leave words of encouragement. I have also left some link I thought others may find useful below.
- The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride
- Prostate Cancer UK
- Movember Foundation
- Prostate Cancer Foundation
- Mental Health Foundation