‘Hog-rod’ ride revs for Down syndrome
Photographer, lawn curator and Harley Owners Group member Danny Harrison was so chuffed after successfully organising 2016’s custom bike show in Palmerston North’s Arena 3, he decided to try a fundraiser for Down syndrome.
‘‘The [custom] show went really well, but I was trying to find a good cause to go with it that would really touch everyone.’’
It was a talk with a friend who has a Down syndrome child that opened Harrison’s eyes to the challenges Down syndrome families faced.
‘‘Down syndrome children start life with a speech impediment, but the government don’t help with speech lessons, and for the first four or five years the kids learn sign language.
‘‘I was looking to start a fundraising event, so I began researching Down syndrome, and found a fit.’’
Harrison learned that early intervention can make a world of difference for a Down syndrome child and their families.
While this helped ensure the children were on the best development path available, he said social engagement that made connections, formed friendships, built confidence, encouraged independence, and provided opportunities to participate in the community, were also vital.
Taking up to eight months to organise, the first Ride For the Kids in support of Manawatu children and young people with Down syndrome is open to all motorbikes and hot rods.
Those who drive family wagons can also take part, while the public is welcome along to look over the vehicles and see them off.
‘‘It’s about raising awareness and money to support that early intervention and to provide social engagement opportunities. Anyone who registers qualifies for the spot prizes. People with family cars are welcome to come on the run too, or turn up at The Wines for the social afternoon and live music afterwards.’’
Harrison said the sponsors had been extraordinarily generous and hoped the ride could become an annual fixture.
Registration for $20 is from 9am Sunday at Anza in Taonui St, with the three-hour ride leaving at 10.30am.
The ride ends at The Wines Bar and Grill, Rangiotu Rd, Himatangi where prizes will be given out and the money raised handed over to the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association.
Lily Romeril, 10, is all set to Ride For The Kids.