Nick Benson Sr. loves his bike. And like so many bikers, he has a heart for children, especially those kids in need.
Most of us are familiar with biker runs benefitting Toys for Tots, Muscular Dystrophy and other large charitable organizations. Locally, though, few have heard of the run to benefit Totally Kids Specialty Healthcare.
The 22nd annual “One More from the Heart” run to benefit Totally Kids takes place on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. until early afternoon. There are no entry fees or other costs to participate.
Totally Kids is located in Loma Linda. It is a home to care for developmentally disabled and technologically dependent children from infancy through 21 years of age. They receive limited state funding but have a long list of other needs not covered by government grants.
According to Benson, “This run was started by a now deceased Vago named Basil. He found out about this place and the way it is ignored by the state. Although they do provide funding, it is not enough to cover the basics. There are many volunteer workers there.
“In any case, Basil being well known in the biker community organized this ride along with many, many hours of donated materials and labor to build them a little park. The ride now is the biggest fundraiser of the year for this place. A couple of hundred bikers will be there from independents to reps from several bike clubs.”
The ride starts in Riverside at Chopper Place, 4791 Doane Avenue and ends at Totally Kids. “The children love the roar of the bikes and their little faces some severely distorted light up at the sound. They love the 2 hours of attention they get,” said Benson. Although it is a biker run, cars are welcome too.
Benson warns, “They are extremely vulnerable to illness [the children] so everyone’s vitals are taken upon entering and you can’t be sick if you want to go in.”
He says it is worth it. “It took a year or two before I could handle going in. Afterwards, even some of the nurses take a ride on a bike! It is an awesome experience.”
Benson is going it alone this year. “Sometimes other riders from Barstow go with me, but for this Sunday, none have contacted me so I’ll ride alone,” he said.
If you would like more information about the ride or donating any time throughout the year, check out their website at www.totallykids.com. If you prefer to go directly to the center, it is located at 1720 Mountain View Avenue, Loma Linda. Festivities begin at 10:45 a.m.