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Kids Bike run helps ensure that wishes do come true

Bikes, bikes everywhere, as far as the eye could see. That was the scene Saturday for the fifth annual Kids Bike Run for the Make a Wish Foundation of Minnesota. The event, which was held at Pioneer Village, attracted well over 1,000 attendees according to organizers. More than 300 motorcycles also took part in ride to raise money to grant wishes to sick children.

Mother Nature cooperated and helped the fifth annual Kids Bike Run attract over 300 motorcycle enthusiasts Saturday as they took part in the fundraising event for the Make a Wish Foundation of Minnesota.

One of the event's organizers, Wanda Smith said besides the estimated more than 300 motorcycles that took part in the ride, well over 1,000 people attended the event to enjoy the food, music and camaraderie of fellow bikers.

Funds raised by the event have helped grant the wishes of severely ill children. Those wishes have included trips to Disneyland, a four-wheeler bike and a trip to Paris.

According to Mark Schmidt, who created the local event the ride has raised about $80,000 to grant kids' wishes and some of the money has also been used for other children related events during the years.

"It's just something that people really enjoy helping raise money for and they feel like they have done something then," said Schmidt. "It's the least we can do for some of these kids."

A raffle of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle is also part of the event. Steve Loy, of Shipshewana, IN, won the raffle of a Harley Davidson motorcycle worth $18,000 at the very first Bike Run.

He has returned every year since and has also volunteered to donate $1,000 each year for 18 years (to match the motorcycle's value) to the Bike Run. As part of that promise he presented a check for $1,000 to the Make a Wish Foundation.

"This is really one of the highlights of the year for me," said Loy. "I came here with eight people on four bikes. It's great when you see the kids too."

The problem of children with severe illnesses hit home for Loy this year. One of his sons was diagnosed with cancer in October.

"It was then that I really understood the kind of support children and their families need when there's a diagnosis of a deadly disease," said Loy. "I really understand the value of that help."

Loy is happy to report that his son is now "cancer free."

Loy said that when he and others attend the event it's their way of somehow helping a cause.

"It's a good way for one person to be able to feel like they are doing something to help," said Loy.

Smith also announced that Greg Thompson of Farmington, MN, was the winner of the Harley Davidson motorcycle in the Bike Run raffle.