Ride for the cure spreads awareness

By Beau Ebenezer

May 18, 2013 Updated May 18, 2013 at 10:26 PM CDT

PEORIA Ill -- Peoria Heights residents, Diane and Dennis Quitschau revved up their Harley engine just like any other sunny day of the week.

Except this time, it was for a whole new reason.

"It was in September of 2012 when I was diagnosed with stage-zero breast cancer," said Diane. "I am so blessed with the early detection and finding it early that I did not have to go through chemo or radiation. I chose to have a mastectomy."

Diane and her family took part in her first ever Ride for The Cure in Peoria.

They joined 2,000 other riders, all spreading breast cancer awareness.

This year's ride was about 25 miles from the Shoppes at Grand Prairie to Expo Gardens.

Riders wore yellow along with their assortments of pink.

Nearly 40 survivors rode along for the event, with loved ones supporting them at every turn.

"It's heart warming, and it is all about the awareness," said Diane's husband, Dennis. "This brings out the attention and the awareness. It brings out the donations for research and everything. It is really important. I really feel good about it."

Over Ride for the Cure's 17 year-run, it has raised more than $400,000 for Susan G. Komen breast cancer research.

This year, organizers hope to raise more than $40,000 so women like Diane can get the treatment they need.

"I'm a newbie. I haven't done this ride or the walk for breast cancer," said Diane. "To see all of these people, it's very emotional and overwhelming. I start looking at people and the other survivors, and I just get the tears under my eyes ya know? My throat is getting choked up now."

Both riders and organizers hope the thrashing of hundreds of bikes will serve as a wake up call, for everyone to get screenings now and down the road.