Memorial ride keeps dream alive, helps kids

Keeping a dream alive is the motto for those organizing the 15th annual Ken Adams Memorial Toy Run, and providing gifts for youngsters in need is the goal.

Cathy Adams, an organizer, said she and her now late-husband Ken participated in the annual Toy Run held in Henry County by Ricky “Big Bird” Holcomb, and decided “we could do that” for youngsters in Patrick County.

The two set about making that vision come true, with inaugural run held in November, 2003. By Dec. 30 of that year, Ken Adams was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma, Cathy Adams said of the rare blood cancer that originates from the lymph nodes and spreads to the bone marrow and to the gastrointestinal track, according to the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

“We managed to get in a few more (toy) runs” before Ken Adams succumbed to the disease in May 2006, Cathy Adams said.

His dream of helping children and families at Christmas persevered. After her husband’s untimely death, Cathy Adams said her church family at Ross- Harbour United Methodist Church agreed to call the event the Ken Adams Memorial Toy Run.

Proceeds generated by the event are used to buy gifts for some youngsters in the Christmas Cheer program.

“People donate $10 to ride in the ride, and there are a lot of generous people who donate more” to help provide gifts to children, Cathy Adams said, adding another source of revenue is a 50/50 drawing.

Based on the amount raised during the event, Cathy Adams said organizers then “decide what we are going to spend” on each youngster.

“Last year, we raised $6,000, and I think we helped 85 children,” all were participants in the Christmas Cheer program, Adams said. She explained that agency accepts referrals from schools and the Patrick County Department of Social Services.

Only the age and gender of the youngsters is shared with ride organizers, Adams said. Occasionally, details are provided by parents about what the child wants, but other times, Cathy Adams said they write “anything will do. It is a very humbling experience.”

Although called a ‘toy run,’ she said each child receives an outfit; a warm jacket or a coat – depending on whether a coat is needed – and shoes. “Then we buy them a toy of we have enough money left. We try to supply all the needs we can.”

Including the years Ken Adams was alive, this will mark the 15th anniversary of the ride, Adams said.

“It has really grown into something wonderful,” she said and attributed that to the generosity of participants as well as other organizations.

“Last year, we had 96 registered riders, plus the people with them,” Adams said, adding participants are treated to lunch and a rest break mid-way through the ride.

The Fairystone Volunteer Fire Department “is generous in allowing us to use their building,” Adams said, adding the Red Knights VA Chapter 11 Motorcycle Club also helps support the ride by helping with the route and traffic control.

The ride will be held Nov. 4. Registration starts at 11:30 a.m. at the Fairystone Volunteer Fire Department. Riders leave at 1 p.m.

The entry fee is $10, and the event is open to all types of cars, trucks and motorcycles, Adams said, adding it also generally attracts a number of classic vehicles.

The rain date is Nov. 18 at Ross-Harbour United Methodist Church, 6260 Elamsville Road, Stuart.

For more information, call Adams, (276) 930-1530; Corky Hall, (276) 673-3300 or any Red Knights MC member.

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