Local HOG chapter to hold Easter Bunny Toy Run for kids; Toys going to Children’s Hospital
For a small child, a hospital stay can be a frightening experience. In an effort to help ease some of those fears, the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Harley Owners Group, or HOG, is hosting the fifth annual Easter Bunny Toy Run.
The Saturday motorcycle run requires participating riders to bring a new unwrapped toy, which will help refill the treasure chest in the children’s ward of the hospital.
“We do this because we want to bring joy and excitement to the children in the hospital,” said Ron Cox, activities officer and spokesperson for the Southwest Florida Chapter of HOG. “Doing this is such a gratifying experience and the children have a good time. It brings them such happiness.”
Cox said the ride is the sole way the treasure chest, located at the hospital, is filled each year. Children at the hospital are given a toy out of the box after they have gone though a medical procedure. They can keep this toy or game and bring it home with them.
Bikers will be asked to bring such items as board games like Chutes and Ladders or Candyland, toy cars or trucks, Barbies and arts and crafts kits.
“We would really prefer no stuffed animals or items which require batteries,” said Cox. “Batteries are just an ongoing cost.”
The Easter Bunny Toy Run was started five years ago by then HOG President Jack Eveland and his wife, Norma.
“Norma was, at the time, the executive director of the local March of Dimes chapter,” said Cox. “She had toured the children’s ward of the hospital and came back with the idea for the Easter Bunny run. At the time, bikers were doing a lot for Christmas but no one was doing anything for Easter, so we voted for it.”
The 21-mile ride will begin at 11 a.m. sharp from the Harley Davidson of Fort Myers. It will take riders from Colonial Boulevard to Treeline Avenue, from Treeline to Summerlin Road, from Summerlin to Bass Road, and from Bass to The Children’s Hospital.
Children from the ward will be present to greet the riders.
After the toy run, participants will meet at Jimmy’s Pink Cadillac on San Carlos Boulevard, where they can enjoy a cash bar, complementary pig roast and live entertainment.
The police-escorted ride will be led by the Easter Bunny himself, followed by the honorary grand marshall for the parade, Jim Nathan, president of Lee Memorial Health Park Systems.
Preregistration began Tuesday. In addition to bringing a new unwrapped toy, the cost is $5 and includes a ride pin, preride refreshments, a pig roast and entertainment.
For details, visit: www.swflhog.org or call 633-0377.