The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation's Ride for Kids program broke all of its previous fundraising records in 2008, bringing in more than $5.2 million during its 25th anniversary year.
"I want to thank every one of our dedicated volunteers, amazing fundraisers and committed partners. It is a testament to their willingness to dig deep and work hard that 2008 was the best year in Ride for Kids history," said Kyle Clack, National Director of the Ride for Kids program. "Many more children and their families will enjoy the holidays together because of their efforts."
"With the addition of three new ride cities in 2009, we are now even more committed to succeed in our quest to find the cause of and cure for childhood brain tumors," Clack said.
The best of the best
The Ride for Kids program has always encouraged participants to bring more than the basic $35 registration fee, but not by reaching into their own pockets. Riders who ask family, friends, neighbors and co-workers for contributions, or who use their employer's matching gift program, greatly increase the impact of their participation.
Some of the most successful fundraisers are the most creative. Bob Henig, owner of Bob's BMW in Jessup , Md. , has been involved in Ride for Kids® for 14 years. He and his dealership have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the PBTF over the years, but in 2008, he set out to raise the bar even higher.
Henig's "Ultimate Bike Raffle" gave away a new BMW motorcycle, complete riding apparel, and many other extras. Ticket sales and other customer contributions totaled $106,437, giving Bob's BMW a photo-finish for the top fundraising dealership in the nation. The $87,826 Henig personally raised also earned him the honor of being the country’s top individual fundraiser in 2008.
"When I dreamed up the original concept for the Ultimate Bike Raffle I hoped we might raise $25,000 and grow awareness of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation's mission and the Ride for Kids program," Henig said. "As the raffle progressed, my team and I thought that promoting my $100 T-shirt idea might help us hit $50,000. But even in my wildest dreams—and I do have them—I didn't imagine that so many people would share the news or want to proudly wear one of these special ROAD CREW T-shirts. So it was amazing to discover that the sales for three tickets with a T-shirt far outnumbered the single ticket sales and that we raised $80,000! It has been quite the experience, and I hope we can beat that effort in 2009."
Another longtime supporter, Nielsen Enterprises of Lake Villa, Ill., shares the spotlight as the highest-fundraising dealership in the country. Its customers contributed $109,950 in 2008.
"The most motivating word that comes to mind when raising funds for the PBTF is love," said owner Ted Nielsen. "When riding through areas where people are standing and waving us on, the smiles on the kids' faces make it all worthwhile. These children deserve our help to give them the best chance to fulfill their lives in a healthy, natural state. The reward is to reach out and share our good fortune of life with others in need."
The PBTF is honored to announce that both Henig and Nielsen have joined its Board of Directors. Their business expertise will further solidify the influence of the motorcycle community on the foundation's operations.
Another vital component of the Ride for Kids® is the hard work of motorcycle chapters, clubs and other groups that enthusiastically promote their local events and organize participants. From the Orange County Dualies to Gold Wing Road Riders Association chapters, these groups raised over $907,000 for the PBTF in 2008.
The nation's top group was Team Tyler, powered by American Collectors Insurance, which brought $64,355 to the Philadelphia Ride for Kids.
Industry sponsors give generously
The Ride for Kids program is deeply thankful for the ongoing support of its presenting sponsor since 1991, the Honda Rider's Club of America, and its parent, the American Honda Motor Company.
We are also grateful to national sponsors such as the Cycle World International Motorcycle Shows, AGV Helmets and Dunlop Tires. In addition, we thank the countless companies and motorcycle dealers across America who help us connect with the motorcycling community.
Motorcyclists make research breakthroughs possible
The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation has funded more than 50 research institutions around the world, including its own prestigious PBTF Institute programs. One of those institutes is led by Dr. Mitchel S. Berger, a neurosurgeon and researcher at the University of California San Francisco.
"I am convinced more than ever, in this very challenging economy, with less funding coming from the National Institutes of Health, that the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and its Ride for Kids events are making a significant and highly meaningful impact in the area of brain tumor research," said Berger.
"So many of our ideas around the country in this field involve high-risk research, and thanks to the efforts of our motorcycle enthusiasts and their support teams, we are making a serious impact into our understanding of the causes of these devastating illnesses and how to better treat them," Berger concluded.