Motorcyclists from across Ontario will be rumbling through the Niagara region on Saturday July 6thto support childhood cancer research. The “Ride 4 Our Cancer Kids”, also known as “ROCKRIDE” has been raising funds for Childhood Cancer Canada since 2004; and is expecting to reach their half-a-million-raised-to-date milestone this year.
The event was created in memory of Samantha Thomas, who passed away on May 18, 2003, three days before her third birthday. Her nine-month battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma ended at SickKids in Toronto when complications arose after her bone marrow transplant. Her parents, Bob & Lori, were determined to give some meaning to their loss and channeled their despair into something positive.
The event was based in Sarnia, Ontario until 2016 when the Thomas family relocated to Niagara Falls. The ride has continued its history of successful events, raising over $100,000 in the first three years in Niagara. 100% of funds raised go to fund research at the 17 Children’s Hospitals across Canada through Childhood Cancer Canada.
Support for the event has not just come from the motorcycle community, but also from local groups and businesses. The Fort Erie Fire Department has become a vital part of the event, hosting the midpoint bbq at the Central Avenue Fire Hall and providing all the manpower to feed nearly 200 participants. The Chippawa Lions Club have also come on board as a major sponsor.
Bob Thomas mandated the event to be a zero-cost event, to ensure every dollar goes to the Foundation. The thousands of dollars in prizes, host facilities, supplies and promotion are all donated by local businesses. Even the event shirts provided free to the first 100 checked in on event day are donated by Parker Hannifin in Stoney Creek. Additional corporate sponsors are always welcome.
Participants can pre-register online at rockride.com or show up at Clare’s Harley-Davidson in Niagara-on-the-lake before 10:30 am on July 6th. Riders will travel in small groups to the Chippawa Lion’s Hall, Fort Erie Fire Hall, Tons of Bike Gear in St, Anne’s, and then to “Oh Canada Eh!” for the finale & awards ceremony.
To support the fight against childhood cancer, you can donate at rockride.com. As their tag-line suggests, we ROCK “cuz kids shouldn’t need chemo.”