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Bikers to raise money for premies

By Staff | Oct 2, 2015

Motorcyclists and community members are hitting the pavement on Saturday. They just won’t be riding, at least early in the day.

They will be out on the busy street corners with their helmets to raise money for premature babies in the 15th annual Bikers for Babies Helmet Drive.

Volunteers from local bike clubs and supporting organizations will be at numerous locations throughout Lee County from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., collecting cash donations from the community to benefit research and medical services that help reduce premature births in Southwest Florida.

Trent Howe, Division Director, Southwest Coast Division at March of Dimes, said last year’s event raised more than $11,000. He said it was the brainchild of the former executive director, who started it as a ride between the Harley Davidson dealerships in Naples and Fort Myers.

Annie Campbell, community director with the March of Dimes, said the goal of the event is to improve the health of babies and prevent birth defects and premature births, which it has done successfully in recent years.

“In 2008, one in eight babies was born prematurely. Last year that went up to one in nine, and this year it’s expected to go to one in 10,” Campbell said. “That’s a good sign.”

About 50 volunteers, with helmets in-hand, will be at the corners of Veterans Memorial Parkway and Santa Barbara Boulevard, Del Prado Boulevard and Cape Coral Parkway East, and Del Prado Boulevard North at Pine Island Road in Cape Coral.

Additional volunteers will be in Fort Myers at Summerlin Road and Cypress Lake Drive, Daniels Parkway and Treeline Avenue, and Luckett Road at Enterprise Parkway.

And with the weather forecast expected to be warm and dry, the hope is that more money can be raised.

“It would be nice for the weather to stay nice so we can raise some money. We are lucky to have such a generous community and it is a nice way to give back to those families in the area and worldwide. It opens another opportunity to make a difference,” Campbell said.

The drive raised more than $206,000 last year. This year’s goal is $250,000, with about $50,000 collected so far through corporate donations, Howe said.

This event kicks off the Bikers for Babies season, which culminates with the 15th annual Bikers for Babies Ride on Sunday, Nov. 15, when more than 1,500 riders will receive a police escort from North Collier Regional Park in Naples to Six Bends Harley-Davidson in Fort Myers.

“We have registration on Friday night. On Saturday we usually do a car, motorcycle and truck show and it culminates with the ride,” Howe said, adding that preregistration at the Harley dealerships in Fort Myers ad Naples begins Saturday and will go every Saturday until the big ride.

For more information, go to www.BikersForBabies.org.