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10 Oct 11 Divas ride despite rainy weather, poor economy

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Mary Jo Duncan is one of the original Chrome Divas of Tallahassee. In the 10 years she’s done the Poker Run for breast cancer awareness, she’s had several friends, family members and fellow Divas diagnosed with breast cancer.

She rides every year, rain or shine, in support of them.

“It’s a good thing that people will come out in support of breast cancer,” Duncan said. “It’s a great thing even though it’s a little smaller of a crowd than we’re used to. But if you’re into it and you like to ride, you’ll come out rain or shine.”

The light rain kept a few people out of the run but overall the turnout was impressive for the Chrome Divas of Tallahassee 10th Annual Breast Cancer Poker Run on Sunday. The “run” is actually a motorcycle ride around Tallahassee with five checkpoints.

Event director Mary Youngblood said about 100 riders came out this year.

“We start advertising in May,” she said. “We try and obtain as many door prizes as we can for the riders and as many ‘big ticket items as we can.’”

Youngblood said all proceeds from the event go to A Woman’s Place, a part of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, which provides aid for women battling breast cancer.

“It helps the women who can’t afford to pay or those who don’t have insurance pay for treatments,” she said. “It helps them, pays for counseling, whatever they need.”

At each checkpoint the riders get a card and by the last checkpoint at KK Fish Camp, they have a full hand. Angie Reid spent Sunday helping the Divas with the run for the first time.

She said typically the best and worst hands receive cash prizes — which are usually returned to the charity.

Reid said these days it’s impossible to find someone who has not been impacted by breast cancer.

The failing economy has negatively impacted the Divas’ ride because some people aren’t in the same position to give as they were two years ago, Youngblood said.

“Two years ago, it was so much easier,” she said. “Once the economy took a dive it got harder because so many charitable organizations depend on donations. You’ve got so many folks who are out of work that you’d normally depend on.”

Even with the constant threat of rain Sunday and the failing economy, Youngblood said canceling the event was not an option. She said some people would give their last $20 to support the event.

Duncan, who hit every checkpoint and had what she called an “impressive hand,” agreed and said only the worst conditions would stop what the Divas wanted to do on Sunday.

“I mean if there was a monsoon, then yeah, we’d cancel the event,” Duncan said. “We never want to put anyone’s life in danger.”

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