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TODAY news for Thursday, January 28, 2008

Loma Linda University Children's Hospital news

Bikers invade LLU Children’s Hospital, bringing toys and smiles for sick children

Matching grins, a Children�s Hospital patient clutches the Pooh bear she received from Santa and his two-wheeled comrades at the 15th annual Bikers Toy Run.
Matching grins, a Children’s Hospital patient clutches the Pooh bear she received from Santa and his two-wheeled comrades at the 15th annual Bikers Toy Run.
For the 15th consecutive year, Santa hopped aboard a Harley and led a giant invasion of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.

The event—which rode into town on Sunday, December 16, 2007—is one of the high points of the year for patients and staff, as the benevolent bikers roar onto campus bringing gifts and holiday cheer.  

The jolly old elf never comes alone when he rides into Loma Linda. At the 2007 event, the official tally listed 267 motorcycles at the Bikers Toy Run.

Most were Harleys, but a handful of Hondas, Yamahas, Suzukis, and Kawasakis joined forces, along with a bright yellow Indian and an old-style Vespa scooter, just to be sure the event didn’t turn into a Harley rally.

Marcia Taylor, who coordinates the Bikers Toy Run, says, “It’s always a joy to see the smiles the event brings to the faces of the kids each year.”

Most of the bikers, including Ms. Taylor, are members of the Motorcycle Riders Association; but other groups—including Bikers for Christ, the Harley Owners Group, The Wild Pigs, and the Elsinore Valley Touring Riders—also attended the event.

Bikers for Christ prayed with hospitalized ch
One biker rode in dressed as Santa Claus. Apparently the reindeer needed to rest up before the big day.
One biker rode in dressed as Santa Claus. Apparently the reindeer needed to rest up before the big day.
ildren at the event, while The Wild Pigs, an organization of police officers and law enforcement agents who ride motorcycles, provided security.

Highlights of the afternoon included appearances by Jim Weatherly, former NFL star from the Atlanta Falcons, and singing sensation Michelle Winters, as well as check presentations from several participating organizations.

Following the program, patients and their families dispersed to the Stater Bros. Activity Center where Santa spent time with the kids before allowing them to select anything they wanted from an enormous stash of toys donated by the riders.

“I never saw so many beautiful bikes in my life!” says Tiffany Hoekstra, major gifts officer for LLU Children’s Hospital Foundation. “The chrome looked fantastic, and when they all rode in together, the procession shook the ground with that fabulous, thunderous sound.

“We are so grateful to the Motorcycle Riders Association for remembering our kids for 15 years in a row,” she adds. “We consider them to be true heroes for children!”

By James Ponder
Former NFL star Jim Weatherly (Atlanta Falcons) tells the crowd of several hundred bikers to keep up the good work in bringing the holiday spirit to children.
Former NFL star Jim Weatherly (Atlanta Falcons) tells the crowd of several hundred bikers to keep up the good work in bringing the holiday spirit to children.
Contemporary Christian artist Michelle Winters, spokesperson for De Coster�s Kids, wows the crowd at the 15th annual Bikers Toy Run at LLU Children�s Hospital.
Contemporary Christian artist Michelle Winters, spokesperson for De Coster’s Kids, wows the crowd at the 15th annual Bikers Toy Run at LLU Children’s Hospital.
A Harley rider waits in line for a place to park his chopper as 267 bikes rode into Children�s Hospital for the 15th annual Bikers Toy Run on December 16, 2007.
A Harley rider waits in line for a place to park his chopper as 267 bikes rode into Children’s Hospital for the 15th annual Bikers Toy Run on December 16, 2007.

TODAY news for Thursday, January 28, 2008