Brain tumor survivor Isabella and Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis wowed the crowd at the South Bend ride.
The seventh annual Ride for Kids® in South Bend, Ind., honored 11 brain tumor survivors and raised $91,682 for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation yesterday.
Blue skies and sunshine greeted the crowd of 450 gathered at Pinhook Park. The riders and their police escort toured the countryside around South Bend, cruising past rolling meadows and farmland for an hour and a half before returning for the Celebration of Life.
The program brought the motorcyclists face to face with many of the children they ride to help, including 5-year-old Carrie and 11-year-old Lucas. PBTF college scholarship recipient Juliana said, "People think I’m different, and I am, thanks to the battle I intend to win."
Dr. Tim Griffin, medical director of oncology at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, told the motorcyclists how researchers use the funds raised to search for a cure.
Another VIP guest was Charlie Weis, head football coach at the University of Notre Dame, who donated $1,000 to the cause. "You guys are the nuts and bolts that run the PBTF," he told the riders. "I have a special needs child of my own at home, so I know what many of the families go through."
The top fundraisers were:
* Individuals: Gregory Koliboski & Samantha Paull, $19,297
* Club/Chapter: ABATE Region #2, $27,835
* Motorcycle Business: Calumet Harley-Davidson/Buell, $20,997
Bobby Newman of LaPorte, Ind., won the drawing for a new Honda motorcycle.
Many thanks went to the local volunteer task force, led by Bobby and Claudette Newman, E.J. and Georgia Ford, and Fred and Sandy Johnson.