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More than 500 riders rally to help fight Muscular Dystrophy

August 13, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa - They might have oil in their blood, tattoos on their arms and wind in their hair, but these "angels" ride for a cause.

Riders from around the area gathered Saturday on Harleys and Hondas to raise money for the 18th annual Motorcyclist Ride for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

Michele Ollason, program coordinator of the MDA, estimated that more than 500 riders registered at M&S Harley-Davidson for the 120-mile ride.

Darren Moats, son of M&S Harley-Davidson owner Dennis Moats, was impressed by the turnout.

"Bikers have warm hearts," Moats said.

Some riders such as Randy Runshaw of Greencastle, Pa., come to the event every year to support someone they love.

"I ride for my sister," Runshaw said. "She works with MD patients."

But not every rider has a personal connection to the cause. For Sue Shoap of Get tysburg, Pa., the event is just a good reason to ride.

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"I come each year (because) this is a good ride for a good cause," she said.

Last year, the MDA raised $54,000 at the event, Ollason said. Hoping to raise more, she added, "Sixty (thousand) would be good this year."

Ollason said that the money raised Saturday will go directly to the MDA branch in Lancaster, Pa. Serving Franklin County, the Lancaster branch raises money for muscular dystrophy and neuromuscular research, and provides local clients with medical services.

Event volunteer Kristie Palmer of Mercersburg, Pa., is a client of the MDA. Diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease, Palmer volunteered for the event to give back to the MDA.

"The MDA does so much for me, I want to give back," Palmer said with a smile. "Lord willing I am not sick, I will be back next year."

Saturday's event included many changes from past rides, so many, in fact, that Ollason subtitled the event "All New."

"We have done so many new things this year," Ollason said. "For instance, hosting the ride on Saturday, not Sunday like in the past."

Keeping with the theme, many riders came to the event for the first time.

Melanie and Jay Bogle came to the event this year because it was moved to Saturday. "We never could come before because of church," Melanie Bogle said.

In addition to the donation required to ride, Ollason said that each vendor for the event pledged to donate 25 percent of their profits to the cause.

The riders at Saturday's event inspire MDA clients, Ollason said. Palmer smiled at the long line of registering riders.

"You wouldn't guess it, but bikers are the nicest bunch," Palmer said.

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