Cape Town – More than 100 riders turned out for the second Bikers Unite for Charity Run to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital on Saturday, but their numbers were swelled by pillions, family and friends in cars, until there were hundreds of bikers and ‘civvies’ alike enjoying the atmosphere, the food and the music around the horseshoe driveway in front of the hospital’s main entrance.
But first, of course, they headed straight to the organisers’ gazebo to stuff money into a gaily wrapped box signposted “Donations gladly accepted here” – more than R20 000 in cash, reported convener Waseem Salie, with thousands more to come from pledges and electronic funds transfers that had yet to be tallied.
Mindful that it takes more than medicine to heal the heart of a sick child, many had also brought toys, books, games and even clothes to be distributed among the hospital’s young patients. Within minutes the boxes put out for these donations were overflowing and hospital staff were hurriedly finding more.
Motorcycle Owners Cape Town, started as a Facebook notice board for Salie and half a dozen of his biker buddies, has become a grassroots movement with almost 5000 members, wielding considerable clout on social media.
Now officially partnered with the Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association, which provides support for parents and family members who stay over with patients, the run was intended to raise awareness as well as funds for this little publicised facet of the hospital.
The party atmosphere was supported by a number of stalls selling ‘biker bling’ and food ranging from tangy non-alcoholic fruit-juice ‘mocktails’ to home-baked cake, made-to-order subs, and roast chicken and salads – as well as MOCT members passing round bags of the group’s signature coconut doughnuts, still warm.
The run also attracted considerable sponsorship from, among others, Omni Insurance, in the form of a Shark crash helmet worth R4000 and Simply For Travel, with accommodation vouchers to the value R2000, as prizes in a lucky draw.
Salie and event organiser Tyrone Josias were reluctant to take credit for the success of the run. “I just lit the match,” said Salie later; well, he seems to have started quite a bush fire.