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The annual Bob Probert Ride has developed into a community mainstay in terms of raising funds and awareness in support of improving cardiac care across Windsor and Essex County.

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On Sunday, the tenth and final ride led by the Probert family will take place.

“Needless to say the Probert family has had a direct impact on health care in our community since Bob’s passing on a number of fronts,” said Bill Marra, CEO for Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. “Financially, this event has raised over $1 million over the last decade which has gone directly towards improving patient care and support strategies.”

Funds raised by the ride have been used for cardiac care equipment at the Ouellette campus of Windsor Regional Hospital and to create “state-of-the-art facilities” and programs for cardiac care at the HDGH campus on Prince Road.

The Windsor-born Probert, a popular longtime star with the Detroit Red Wings, died on July 5, 2010 at the age of 45 of a heart attack while fishing on Lake St. Clair.

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His wife Dani Probert and four children have been instrumental in launching and leading the annual fundraising motorcycle ride over the years.

“There is always a degree of emotion for Dani and the family during each event, but it also takes on a bit of a celebratory theme,” Marra said.

“(Dani) is caring and passionate person who has been determined to have everyone not only embrace Bob’s legacy as a hockey player, but also as a caring husband and father. The family has carried that legacy forward in terms of being passionate and caring about our community.”

The motorcycle event annually attracts more than 1,000 riders and averages over $100,000 raised each year.

In recent years, the Probert family, which has a say on how funds raised are utilized, have shifted focus towards support of mental health and addiction programs and care at HDGH.

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“The issues are of great concern across the country and across Essex County,” Marra said. “We play a significant role locally in terms of (mental health and addictions) treatment and programs. We are involved in partnerships with Windsor police and OPP with teams that mobilize. We have our wellness centre. We have a vast array of programs and services.

“Just like with cardiac care, what (the Probert ride) does is help create public awareness and dialogue on (mental health) issues that have been even further exacerbated by the pandemic.”

This year’s Probert ride will launch from and eventually return to the Ciociaro Club (3745 N. Talbot Rd.). Registration opens at 9 am, with a handful of speeches at 10 am and kick-stands up at 10:30 am

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The ride will make its way to the GOAT restaurant in Lakeshore, then Colchester Bar and Grill and Wolfhead Distillery in Amherstburg before ending up back at the Ciociaro Club.

Each year the ride is led by a celebrity road captain. This year’s captain will be announced on ride day at 10 am

New to the event this year is the addition of a Classic Car Show — in part honoring Bob’s love for the restoration and collection of historical cars. For a $10 fee, classic car owners can register their car which will include entry to all contests and one complimentary poker hand.

“For those who don’t participate in the ride still come out later and see the cars,” Marra said. “The riders should be returning back starting around 2:30 pm We will have the classic cars and food for purchase for everyone.”

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