Riders With Heart: Visiting the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital

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For the second straight year, our pal and TWMX contributor Steve Bauer hooked up a group of riders, contacted some industry friends, and showed some real heart by visiting the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. There, the riders visited with the kids, nurses and parents; signed autographs, and did everything they could to break up the monotony of the kids’ hospital stays.

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The idea originated last year, when Steve was visiting with his friend Mary Hanna, who has worked in the hospital’s oncology unit for the last 11 years. Once again, Bauer was clearly pleased with the turnout of riders. “It’s a challenge trying to schedule too far in advance, because riders don’t always know where they’re going to be. It always sort of happens at the last minute, but all the riders I talked to wanted to do it.” This year’s crew included two repeat visitors (Jeff Emig and Trevor Vines), as well as some newcomers (Andrew Short, Sean Hamblin, Mike Metzger, David Pingree, Marty Moates and Rob Buydos).

Industry support was strong as well, with Pro Circuit, Clear Channel, Alpinestars, Racer X, TWMX, No Fear, Metzger Motorsports, Thor, Yamaha, and Fox all donating everything from stickers, hats and posters, to really cool toys that brightened plenty of young faces. In fact, there was so many goodies to hand out, that two large carts and a wagon were needed to wheel it around.

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Knowing that some of the riders themselves have spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital (Trevor had just had a rod removed from his femur a couple weeks prior), you’d think that they’d avoid hospitals whenever possible. Fortunately, the opposite proved to be true. Like Mike Metzger said, “With kids of my own, I feel like anything we can do to make their day better is awesome.”

Some of the staff and parents were equally excited to meet the riders, and they really appreciated the visit. As one nurse told us, “Some of these kids are here for quite a while, and it gets monotonous for them and their parents. This is a huge deal for them.”

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The crew visited over 100 kids, leaving them with a positive impression of the sport and it’s participants. Marty Moates, who besides being one of the honchos at No Fear is a former USGP winner, told us, “It’s good to be able to give back, and seeing the smiles on their faces makes it so worthwhile.”

Like Bauer told us, “It’s a win-win situation. Seeing the kid’s faces light up makes all of us feel good as well. Everybody wins.”

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