akronchildrens.org

Motorcyclists deliver teddy bears and joy

teddy-bear-run,-webUsually teddy bears and motorcycles have nothing in common, but thanks to the Children’s Caravan Teddy Bear Run each September, they both bring smiles to the faces of the patients at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Since 1996, thousands of motorcycles have rolled onto Bowery Street and the Akron campus with stuffed animals and generosity in tow.

By the time they reach our campus, they’ve already traveled the more than 40 miles from Adventure Harley Davidson in Dover, where their ride begins.

Last year 1,200 motorcycles gathered and were police escorted northbound on I-77 to Akron Children’s Hospital.

Once the motorcycles arrive, patients or their parents come down to the playground and ask the bikers for a stuffed animal of their choice.

“It’s amazing the stuff they ask for,” said Penny Martin, founder of Teddy Bear Run. “Usually around 30 kids are able to come down.”

Martin and her family started the Teddy Bear Run to show thanks to the hospital and to help patients like her son, David, who receives care at Akron Children’s.

Martin said the focus of the event is the kids; the toys give them someone to hold.

“Teddy bears provide comfort and courage to the kids,” said Martin. “It gives them someone to talk to.”

“It’s quite a sight to see hundreds of burly guys dressed in leather with rainbow-colored stuffed animals,” said Sara Lundenberger, special events coordinator at Akron Children’s Hospital. “It makes you laugh, and it really is so sweet.”

The 2013 Children’s Caravan Teddy Bear Run will be held on Sunday, Sept. 15. Registration begins at 9 a.m. on the day of the event at Adventure Harley Davidson.

“Whether you ride with us that day, or in spirit, it’s really a special day for the kids,” said Martin.

For more information, contact Martin at 330-401-2858 or childrenscaravan2013@yahoo.com.