The 2011 Ride for Kids season drew to a close yesterday as the Tampa Bay event raised $37,715 for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF).
Windy and warm conditions greeted the 290 riders and other supporters who gathered at the Walter Heinrich Training Center in Lithia to honor Ride for Kids “stars” Chiara, Gina, Trinity, Andriana, Michael, and Corey. These brain tumor survivors led the ride through central Florida farmland, then talked about their lives during the Celebration of Life program.
Gratitude was the theme of the day. “Thank you for coming, people like you save lives,” said 11-year-old Chiara. Added Gina’s mother, Linda, “Your hard work has given our children longer lives and a brighter future.”
Dr. Stacie Stapleton, director of pediatric neuro-oncology at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, thanked the riders on behalf of patients and researchers.
Motorcyclists fuel research that makes a difference. The leading fundraisers in Tampa Bay were:
• Individual: Darleen North, $2,487
• Motorcycle club/chapter: Hap’s Gulf Coast Riders, $11,515
• Motorcycle business: Hap’s Cycle Sales, $13,850
Donated Ride for Kids drawing prizes went to Mike Waldman (Honda motorcycle); Alton Ayers (AGV helmet); Maria Orihuela (Dunlop tire); Douglas White (Tourmaster luggage); and Fred Milito (Cardo Systems headset).
Many thanks went to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department for providing the site and the escort bikes, and to the event’s volunteer organizers, led in 2011 by Jim and Rebecca Iverson, Hayden and Anne Cameron, and Norm and Margaret Van Dame. Next year’s Tampa Bay Area Ride for Kids is on Sunday, Nov. 4.