ABATE/Shriners Toy Run: Then and now

The ABATE/Shriners Toy Run has been in existence since December 1980. There were five bikes and a pickup truck the very first year. At that time, the Shriners hospital was on SE 82nd and Sandy Blvd. In 1984 we started delivering toys to the new hospital on the hill. As the years went on the run had gotten much bigger with more than 1,500 motorcycles (2,000 people) showing up in 1999 to support the kids and Uncle Bob Jackson. 1999 was the year Uncle Bob passed away. The media did a wonderful job of expressing Uncle Bob's generous heart and his desire to see the kids one last Christmas. Bob's illness would not allow him to see the kids again that year, however. The news of his illness and his desire to attend the Toy Run generated a huge amount of interest in the city for riders to help the kids. Rider participation in the Toy Run has reached new heights each year since then.

We have had the honorable Mayor Bud Clark, Senator Randy Leonard, and Commissioner Lonnie Roberts as Grand Marshals. The Harley Owner's Group for the last few years has done a wonderful job of providing the marshalling for the parade. The Toy Run is a full parade with Police escort, etc. The Toy Run is managed by committee with representatives from the three Portland chapters of ABATE (Southeast, Northeast, and Columbia River). Administrative costs are very low (we do have to buy a parade permit, license, tickets, insurance, etc.) with the lionís share of the money going to the kids. We try to get as much of the costs donated as possible. Columbia Harley Davidson provides us the motorcycle that we raffle at minimal cost.

The Toy Run is funded by raffle of a brand new Harley Davidson, generous donations, and benefits. 2002 marks the year of our 10th bike being raffled for the kids. As of 2001, we added two more prizes for folks who buy tickets.

Over the years, we have spent more than $280,000 on wheelchairs, communication devices, computers, braces, van conversions, and special bikes. The equipment that we are able to buy for the kids gives them freedom we take for granted. A new wheelchair for a child that doesn't have one, or any piece of equipment that allows a child to get from place to place with greater ease is liberating. The equipment provided for the kids is also financially liberating for the parents or guardians of these children. A power wheelchair can cost as much as $10,000. This last year we were able to provide $30,000 in equipment that consisted of two power wheelchairs ($16,000), a communication device ($7,000), and three manual wheelchairs ($7,000).

The Toy Run is a labor of love for the kids of the Shriners hospital. We look forward to presenting the kids with their equipment each year. Our reward is their smile. Here are their pictures.


Amy, 11, received a manual wheelchair ($2,500)


Jose, 5, received a power wheelchair ($9,500)


Alizabeth, 8, received a power wheelchair ($6,200)


All the kids


All the kids


Robin, 21, with her caseworker and her communication device ($7,100). Robin will use this device for her new job.


Jimmy, 3, received a manual wheelchair ($2,600)


The great looking cake we ate


Oleg, 8, was born in Russia. His wheelchair in Russia was a garbage can that his parents carried him around in which he humorously called his "Mercedes". He was so happy with his new manual wheelchair that he dubbed it as his "Harley" ($2,100)

 

Questions? Comments?