The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation's Ride for Kids program achieved a major milestone this weekend, holding its 450th and 451st events in Asheville, N.C., and Ann Arbor, Mich., respectively. The two rides combined to raise $180,000 for childhood brain tumor research and family support on Aug. 29.
PBTF national headquarters is in Asheville, so it was fitting that the 450th Ride for Kids event took place there. The ride attracted over 630 participants and brought in $117,822.
The sun gleamed over the Blue Ridge Parkway as the riders made their way to Lake Lure for a program honoring seven young brain tumor survivors.
"There is a huge difference between surviving a brain tumor and thriving after as brain tumor, and it's what you all do that allows me to thrive," said Julia, a PBTF college scholarship recipient.
The riders also heard from a doctor who works with pediatric brain tumor patients. "Your support has been unbelievable," said Dr. Gerald Grant, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Duke University Children's Hospital. "[The PBTF is] willing to take the risk on pilot projects to get things moving faster.... It opens doors of collaboration throughout the world ... and we really just hope this treatment has an impact on these kids."
That research is made possible by riders and fundraisers around the country. In Asheville, the leading contributors were:
* Individual: Anonymous, $25,000
* Club/Chapter: GWRRA NC-M2, $19,610
* Motorcycle Business: MR Motorcycle, $27,423
Asheville's Ride for Kids® task force leaders, Robin Suttles and Pat Harvey, worked with a great group of volunteers to make this ride a success.
Michigan motorcyclists top $62,000
Just an hour after the Asheville event, the 19th Michigan Ride for Kids® rolled in Ann Arbor. More than 300 motorcyclists and supporters were on hand, bringing in $62,147 for the PBTF.
This unique event has both a dual sport and road ride component. Riders for each met at Washtenaw Community College on a beautiful, clear morning for rides through the Huron River woodlands.
Back at the college for the Celebration of Life program, Zachary, Katie, Lee Ann and PBTF college scholarship recipient Ruth told the group about their experiences with a brain tumor.
Katie's father, Rob, also spoke from a parent's perspective. "These kids are my heroes," he said. "There are good days and bad days. The days here with you guys are the good days, but the ones with Katie at the hospital are the bad ones. We all need to work together to make all her days good days."
The leading fundraisers were:
* Individuals: Rob & Denni Proctor, $7,000
* Club/Chapter: Grey Dragons Foundation, $11,000
* Motorcycle Business: Route 66 Powersports, $11,000
Many thanks go to the Michigan Ride for Kids task force and event volunteers for their hard work. The group's 2010 leadership team is made up of George and Claudia Ellison and Ralph and Jean Hunt.