ROCK FALLS – Wanted: kind-hearted bikers with a soft spot for sick kids and a love of the open road.
The local chapter of St. Jude Rides is gearing up for its next charity run to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, famous for treating catastrophically ill children at no cost to their families, including hundreds of kids from the Sauk Valley.
The Sterling/Rock Falls chapter last year raised $52,000 for St. Jude, and more than 200 motorcyclists made the trip to the hospital in Memphis to add their contribution to the $807,000 raised by all chapters.
This year’s 12th annual run to Memphis will take place Sept. 13 to 15, and the goal is to raise $63,000, organizer Gary Fulrath said.
The ride, which started in 2007 in Peoria, home to St. Jude’s first affiliate clinic, has grown to include starting points in Sterling/Rock Falls and Princeton, Kansas City, Missouri, Des Moines, Iowa, and Nashville and Dyersburg, Tennessee. All of the rides converge in Dyersburg, then travel together to Memphis.
The effort so far has raised $5.2 million for St. Jude – and forged lifelong friendships among its riders.
Any motorcycle rider, with or without a passenger, who would like to help raise money and awareness is welcome to attend the group’s first meeting of the year, at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Days Inn, 2105 First Ave. in Rock Falls.
Can’t make that meeting? The group meets monthly – find St. Jude Rides Sterling/Rock Falls to Memphis on Facebook for a schedule.
Don’t ride? That’s OK, sponsors are needed, and welcome.
Go to stjuderides.org or contact Fulrath at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-499-6332 for more information. In Princeton, the contact is Lora Shaer, email@example.com.