140 year of Shriners

140 year of Shriners

Monday, November 29, 2010

Shriners Toy Run Dec 4 Portland, Lets get 7,000 Bikers

The Shriner's Hospital /Portland ABATE Chapter's Toy Run, is held at noon on the first Saturday of December. This year it is Dec 4, 2010.

while some people meet up and ride in together eventually. Everyone gathers at the Tri-Met bus barn 4012 SE 17th in Portland before 11 am and ride with a year's worth of financial and toy collections to the hospital whether it be rain, snow or shine.

The year long efforts make it possible to buy custom made wheelchairs, other specialized equipment and toys for the children at the Shriner's Hospital.
Does not matter what you ride as this is ALL ABOUT the kids.  We hope to see everyone there!!!...


History of the ABATE/Shriners Toy Run

The ABATE/Shriners Toy Run has been in existence since December 1980. There were five bikes and a pickup truck the very first year. At that time, the Shriners hospital was on SE 82nd and Sandy Blvd. The second year the Toy Run had a few more bikes and the riders were hassled for going down 82nd Ave. We’ve come a long way since then! In 1984 we started delivering toys to the new hospital on the hill. Prior to 1980 there was a similar toy run that was hosted by other bike clubs in the Portland area. Their time phased out and then ABATE came on to the scene and started this Toy Run. All in all, it is likely that riders in the Portland area have been doing a toy run for the Shriners close to forty years.

Originally the ride was started to improve the biker image. Since then, we have come to understand that this ride is about the kids. It is not about image. This ride is about motorcyclists from all walks of life coming to together to do some good for these children who are in varying stages of recovery from operations and conditions beyond their control. We hope to bring them a smile and a little fun. Santa leads the motorcycle parade and after he gets to the hospital he presents gifts to them with the help of his lovely elves. In our parade one will find every type and make of motorcycle from scooters, to three wheelers, to radical Harley choppers. As the years have gone by, the run has gotten much bigger with 1999 being the start of greater run attendance. Over 1,500 motorcycles showed up in 1999 to support the kids and Uncle Bob Jackson. Uncle Bob, a much loved Toy Run committee member (A.K.A. known as Santa Claus to the kids), passed away that year. His illness would not allow him to attend the toy run or see the kids again. The media and the press took great interest in Uncle Bob. The news media did a wonderful job of expressing Uncle Bob's generous heart and his desire to see the kids one last Christmas. The news coverage and newspaper articles generated a huge amount of public interest. Needless to say, 1999 was well attended and the run has continued to grow every year since then. 2008 was our largest year with close to 7,000 motorcycles. It was a perfect weather day – warm for a December day and dry throughout the metropolitan area. 2009 had a bit less with estimates up to 6,000 attendees.

Over the years we have had the honorable Mayor Bud Clark, Senator Randy Leonard, Commissioner Lonnie Roberts and KUPL’s Lee Rogers as Grand Marshals. The Harley Owner's Groups from the metro area (Rose City HOG, Sunset HOG, and Vancouver U.S.A HOG) have done a wonderful job of providing the marshalling for the parade. The H.O.G. clubs have assisted us since the early 1990’s. The Toy Run is a full parade with a Portland Police escort. The Toy Run is managed by committee with representatives from the Southeast and Twin Rivers chapters of ABATE. Administrative costs are very low. We do have to buy a parade permit, raffle license, tickets, printing, insurance, etc. We try to get as much of our costs donated as possible. The lion’s share of the net monies raised goes back to the kids.

The Toy Run is funded by the raffle of a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle, generous donations throughout the year and by benefits such as the Musicians Toy Run Benefit (MTRB). The MTRB has grown in the last few years and is rapidly becoming a premier event. Every year is special for the MTRB but this year was the best yet. It was well attended with over $3,800 being donated to the Toy Run wheelchair fund. We thank Francine West and the High Speed Wobblers for hosting the benefit. They bring in top acts from the surrounding area who donate their time to benefit the kids of the Shriners Children’s Hospital. We expect that the Musician’s Toy Run Benefit will one day rival the summer time waterfront musical events one can find in Portland.

The monies raised allows us, with the help of the hospital, to give these children the ability to move about their homes and neighborhoods. They get the freedom to play with friends or go to the grocery store with Mom. We are also able to provide the parents of these special kids with some measure of financial freedom. It costs a lot to care for these children. We are very happy to assist the children and their families with this type of independence and support. Over the years $425,000 has been raised for the kids. 101 children and their families have received equipment. Equipment includes power wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, bikes, communication devices, computers, bathing aids, and van lifts. A lot lives have been enhanced by these gifts of love for the kids by the motorcycling community. The Toy Run is our labor of love for the kids of the Shriners Children’s Hospital. We look forward to presenting the kids with their equipment each year. Our reward is their smile. Their smiles have the power to spur us on for another great year.
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