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Sep 24, 2001

One Event That Wasn't Cancelled The Weekend After Attack...

From a press release issued by American Honda:<BR><BR>Sunday morning, September 16, 2001, was an extraordinary Ride for Kids day in Columbia, Maryland. Following the week of terrorist attacks on our nation's capitol and the World Trade Centers in New York City, 1150 motorcyclists from four states gathered at The Mall in Columbia to demonstrate that life and philanthropy will not be slowed in the United States.<BR><BR>At the end of this memorable day, $173,219 had been deposited into the research fund of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation of the US (PBTFUS) to find the cause and cure of childhood brain tumors.<BR><BR>It was a tremendous sight as hundreds of motorcycles left the mall parking lot at 10:00 a.m. with a US flag flying on every motorcycle. Along the hour and a half route that wound through the scenic Howard County countryside, the riders were exhorted by spectators standing beside the road -- cheering, waving their flags, and even crying at the site of these dedicated motorcyclists. On this day there was an unspoken message that seemed to say, "we will not be stopped as a country and we will not stop until we find an answer to this dreadful disease that is taking away our children".<BR><BR>It was a glorious sight as the riders filled the parking lot at Lincoln Tech, the end point for the ride. As the riders entered the big top tent for the "Celebration of Life", they were greeted by two huge American Flags flanking either side of the stage. Mike Traynor, the President and Founder of the PBTFUS, opened the special program with a period of quiet remembrance for all those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks. And then, the motorcyclists reached for the hands of those around them and sang "God Bless America". It was truly a touching moment as these Americans representing every race, religion and nationality, on every brand of motorcycle, were united as one representing the best of America and motorcycling.<BR><BR>The real heroes on this day were the six "kids", ranging in age from 3 to 20, who gathered their strength to attend to ride and show the world that they are fighting and winning the battle against brain tumors. Elaine Brocenos shared what it is like to learn that a child has an inoperable brain tumor when, less than 2 years ago, her 7 year-old son Nathan was diagnosed. And yet Nathan was present on this day, thanks to new treatments that have resulted from recent research to treat brain tumors. Elaine thanked all the riders for their commitment in the face of the nation's adversity and she encouraged and exhorted the riders to "never give up".<BR><BR>There were other heroes present too. Bob Henig was the top individual fundraiser bringing a whopping $16,755 to pay for badly needed research. More than forty motorcycle clubs and chapters were represented at the Columbia, MD Ride for Kids--the Top Club honors went to the Manassas Honda Riders Club with $9697. Top dealer honors went to Bob's BMW of Jessup, MD whose customer's and friends brought $38,820. James and Lillian Bradford of Mitchellville, MD were the thrilled winners of the brand new Honda motorcycle.<BR><BR>Congratulations to Task Force Leaders Jackie Cooke and Bob Henig, the Columbia Task Force members and event volunteers, the local sponsors and all the participants for a remarkable and memorable event.<BR><BR><BR>The money raised in Columbia will support the programs of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation of the United States (PBTFUS) as it funds medical research seeking the cause and cure of childhood brain tumors. The Ride for Kids program will stop next in Sacramento, CA on Sunday October 7, 2001. For more information concerning the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation of the United States or the Ride for Kids program call 800-253-6520 or visit our websites, www.pbtfus.org or www.ride4kids.org.