On June 4, the loud rumbling coming from the north won’t warn of an impending thunderstorm. Instead, it will signal an approaching wave of Harleys en route to deliver proceeds from a charity motorcycle ride for pediatric cancer patients of St. Luke’s University Health Network.
The Caring for Kids Ride will start in Parryville in Carbon County and conclude at the St. Luke’s Anderson Campus, where a family-friendly celebration will be open to pediatric cancer patients and their families and to members of the public from approximately 2 to 5 p.m.
The ride and event are the brainchild of Gino Russo, Pennsylvania liaison for Bikers Against Bullies, which is a national organization that promotes acceptance of differences among all individuals.
The Lehigh Valley Chapter of Bikers Against Bullies holds a fundraising event each year to support a local cause. This year, the organization chose the St. Luke’s pediatric cancer program.
“We do anything to help kids,” Russo says, crediting his colleagues with organizing the ride and event. “People tend to complain about petty [things], but many kids with pediatric cancer …they have it tough. We want to help them to smile, play and enjoy their days as much as they can.”
During the celebration following the Caring for Kids Ride, several members of Bikers Against Bullies who have been letting their hair grow long – including Russo himself – will shave their heads during the event. The pediatric cancer patients will then sign the bikers’ shaved heads.
The post-ride event will also feature live entertainment, refreshments, a 50/50 raffle, a check presentation and more. Attendees can check out the riders’ motorcycles and classic cars. The PeakTV will be on hand to cover the event.
The Lehigh Valley Chapter of Bikers Against Bullies boasts more than 150 members. Other local motorcycle club chapters such as the Nam Knights, the Leathernecks and the American Legion Riders will join the ride to support the cause.
“We all support each other,” notes Russo, who is manager of the Belmont Inne restaurant. “If another club has a benefit ride, we ride with them to support them and they do the same for us. The stereotype of bikers from the 1970s is not the way it is today. We care about our communities—especially the kids—and have big hearts.”
They also have broad networks. Members of Bikers Against Bullies used their contacts to secure sponsorship from area businesses. Sponsors of the Caring for Kids Ride include Karl Ehmer Meats, Unangst Tree Farm, Elek Plumbing, Dom's Westgate Pizza, The Café, Auto Zone, Copperhead Grille, Panera, Wegmans, Party City and many more.
“Every sponsor has a connection to at least one of our club members,” Russo points out. “The sponsors were very generous as everything for this event was donated. Everybody is interested in helping these kids. I didn’t think this idea would explode the way it has, but the response has been amazing.”
Registration for the Caring for Kids Ride starts at 11 a.m. at Keystone Harley Davidson at 770 State Road in Parryville, Pa., which will serve as the ride’s starting point. The cost is $20 per biker/classic car.
The ride will conclude at the St. Luke’s Anderson Campus at 1872 St. Luke’s Boulevard in Easton at approximately 2:30 p.m. All guests not participating in the ride are asked to provide a $20 donation; children 12 and under are free. The rain date for the Caring for Kids Ride is June 11.
To RSVP or for more information about the Caring for Kids Ride and celebration, please contact St. Luke’s InfoLink at 1-866-STLUKES. For information on how to donate, please visit www.sluhn.org/caringforkids.
Sam Kennedy, Corporate Communications Director, 484-526-4134, firstname.lastname@example.org
About St. Luke’s
Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a non-profit, regional, fully integrated and nationally recognized network providing services at seven hospitals and more than 270 outpatient sites. The network’s service area includes Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery, Berks and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania and in Warren County in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing health education, St. Luke’s operates the nation’s oldest School of Nursing and 22 graduate medical educational programs and is considered a major teaching hospital, the only one in the region. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first Medical School. Repeatedly, including 2017, St. Luke’s has earned Truven’s 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation as well as 50 Top Cardiovascular program in addition to other honors for clinical excellence. St. Luke’s is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of St. Luke’s information technology applications such as electronic medical records, telehealth, online scheduling and pricing information. St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers in comparison to major teaching hospitals and other health systems.