Children with brain tumors received a large dose of hope yesterday at Ride for Kids® events in Philadelphia and St. Louis, where motorcyclists contributed $202,919 to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF).
Philadelphia rides for five
The fifth annual Philadelphia Ride for Kids® attracted over 500 participants and $121,725 in donations on a sunny Sunday.
The riders gathered at the IMAX theatre at King of Prussia Mall before following a police escort on a scenic route to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square.
At the end point, 12 local brain tumor survivors told the fundraisers about their lives. These Ride for Kids® “stars” included small children such as Althea and Angelina, both 6, as well as PBTF college scholarship recipients Annie, Jason and Laura.
Two 12-year-old survivors said they were thankful for the emotional support the ride offers. “The amount you give goes far, and you give [more than] money,” said Emily. Added Pearce, “Thank you very much for taking the time out to make us feel so special.”
The children were joined on stage by Dr. Leslie Sutton, chief of neuro-oncology at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, who also rode in the event.
The first-place fundraisers were
• Individuals: Neil and Jill Bookman, $35,701
• Chapter/Club: Team Tyler, powered by American Collectors Insurance, $37,161
• Motorcycle Business: Planet Honda
Neil Bookman won the Honda motorcycle drawing.
The Philadelphia Ride for Kids® task force and volunteers, led by Lee and Mitzi Krauss, Joel Samick, and Rex and Lisa Alfes, deserve thanks for all their hard work.
No blues in St. Louis
Despite a rainy ride, fundraisers turned in $81,194 in donations at the eighth annual St. Louis Ride for Kids®, a 15 percent increase over 2008.
More than 225 riders and supporters were at St. Charles Community College in Cottleville, Mo., for the event. After a smooth ride around St. Charles County, the motorcyclists and their police escort returned for a moving Celebration of Life.
The program featured the stories of 10 local brain tumor survivors, including 7-year-olds Challia and Isabelle. Said Challia’s mom, Shauna, “Boo-boos are meant for moms to heal, but I can’t heal this one. We need your help.”
Motorcyclists around the country are helping the PBTF fund brain tumor researchers like Dr. Joshua Rubin, a pediatric oncologist from Washington University School of Medicine who told the crowd how vital their efforts are.
The top fundraisers were
• Individual: Brian Kissinger, $10,183
• Chapter/Club: GWRRA MO-Z, $11,653
• Motorcycle Business: Niehaus Cycle Sales, $14,258
Brian Kissinger also won the drawing for a new Honda motorcycle.
Big thanks went to the event’s hardworking volunteers, led by Greg Hoette, Norm and Angie Riekena, John and Lorrie Lehmann, and Charlie and Shirley Barnett.
The next Ride for Kids® event is Sept. 27 in Columbia, Md. For more information, go to www.pbtfus.org/rideforkids