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Hospice benefits from Bike Night

December 23, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The oversized check was $1,000 less than last year, but Kathie Campbell was no less appreciative of the support received Tuesday from the Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, a nonprofit organization of retired and active law enforcement officers who enjoy motorcycles.

"The economy has really effected our fundraising this year," Campbell, marketing director for Hospice of the Panhandle, said after receiving a $9,000 check from Ron Gardner, president of the motorcycle club's West Virginia Chapter V based in Martinsburg. "(It's) definitely down."

The donation by the motorcycle club was generated through the annual Bike Night ride in Berkeley County that has ended in downtown Martinsburg with a street party each summer for the last six years.

More than 600 riders participated this year, said chapter Vice President William E. "Bill" Clark, a retired Washington, D.C., police officer.

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The chapter contributed a total of $39,000 to Hospice in the last five years, and Clark said he hopes the group's 46 members can raise more next year by expanding the event.

Campbell said the club's annual donation is "remarkable."

Hospice of the Panhandle is a private, nonprofit community program that provides in-home hospice services, bereavement support and education and training to people in Berkeley, Hampshire, Jefferson and Morgan counties.

Founded in 1980, the organization employs 133 people who are providing services for about 235 patients, Campbell said.

The money donated by the Blue Knights is distributed as needed to help pay for care of people who cannot afford services, and Campbell said the organization has never had to turn anyone away.

Last year, Campbell said Hospice of the Panhandle provided $939,865 in underreimbursed or noncompensated hospice care.

As long as he's involved with the Bike Night event, Gardner, a lieutenant with the Berkeley County Sheriff''s Department, said he hopes Hospice of the Panhandle remains the fundraiser's beneficiary.

"Some of the chapter's members have had family members come through here," said Gardner, whose younger brother, Mark, received care from a hospice group in Florida several years ago.

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