Although their modes of transportation varied from tricycles to Big Wheels, their purpose was the same as Kids Crew members rode Friday in a trike-a-thon to help fund St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
“It’s a win-win situation because our kids learned about bike safety and got exercise while they raised money to go toward cancer research,” said Stephanie Ash, the child enrichment center’s coordinator.
Ash, who has been at Kids Crew for five years, said the hospital sent her a packet on how to implement the center’s second straight trike-a-thon.
“They gave step-by-step directions on what to do to prepare and when to do it.”
Included in the packet were lessons on bike safety that Kids Crew children studied in preparation for the event.
“Lessons learned during the week included always wear a helmet; never ride in the street, be careful near driveways and always look where you are going,” Ash said.
She sent letters and sponsor forms to parents explaining the purpose of the event held in Kids Crew’s gym.
Ash opened the activity to all school age and preschool age children.
“We try to allow everyone a chance to ride the bikes we have available here, but the bigger children may not be able to participate if they don’t bring in a bike because our trikes are too small for most of them,” she said.
“There are no fees to participate. That’s one of the things that I love about this fundraiser compared to others,” Ash said.
The ride began on an oval-shaped course laid out on the gym floor at Kids Crew. Some 10 riders rode lap after lap on tricycles, bicycles, even one trike with “School Bus” painted in yellow and black on it.
Last year, the event collected between $600 and $700.
“I was really impressed with the participation last year and hope for the same this year,” Ash said. “I have extended the collection date to continue on through next week, in hopes of raising more money.”
According to its Web site, St. Jude’s daily operating expenses approach $1.3 million, all spent in an effort to help children. Thanks to research and advanced treatment developed at the Memphis hospital, the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia has gone from four percent in 1962 to 94 percent. The facility has helped raise survival rates for all types of childhood cancers from less than 20 percent to more than 70 percent.
St. Jude’s treats about 260 patients daily, regardless of a family’s ability to pay and is the only National Cancer Institute-funded cancer center devoted solely to children.
“I’m always looking for ways the children can actively help others,” Ash remarked. “This is a great fundraiser because it is a selfless one in which all money raised goes toward helping other children who have life-threatening conditions.”