Bikers bring smiles at Wharf Rat Rally
Residents of long-term care facilities thrilled with opportunity to be involved
When Angeline Sill saw the gleam in her husband’s eyes as he sat down in a motorcycle sidecar, she couldn’t help but tear up.
“He loved it, he had a grin on his face from one ear to the other,” she said.
Kent Sill is a resident of the Heart of the Valley long-term care facility in Middleton, where motorcycle celebrity Kevin Bean’re led a group of bikers to offer rides to residents. The program, called Share the Wind, is part of the events during the Wharf Rat Rally in Digby this week.
Living with Parkinson’s disease, Sill can’t move on his own. So four bikers picked him from his wheelchair and placed him in the sidecar for a spin on Wednesday.
“He’s a very quiet man and they just made his day,” Angeline said Thursday. “He is still happy today. He’s still smiling when we talk about it.”
She said her husband doesn’t talk very much these days, “but they told him to do a thumbs-up and he did a thumbs-up. It made my day, too, I was so excited. I had tears in my eyes.”
Tracy Frazier, the facility’s recreation director, said 20 of the 49 residents took part in the ride.
“It was a huge hit,” she said.
“They took everyone who wanted to get in. It was an absolutely amazing day.”
She said events like that mean a lot for residents of long-term care facilities, who are often forgotten and need activity.
“It helps with everything. It
helps with sleeping, it helps with behaviours,” she said. “It helps the staff, it helps the families.”
It’s the first time the sidecars were used for giving rides to residents, said Wharf Rat Rally executive director Laura Simmons.
“We try to take the rally to the
people who can’t come in,” she said.
Rally events started happening Tuesday and continue to Sunday. Simmons expects up to 8,000 people in the town for each day of the event except today, when the numbers are closer to 15,000.
Kent Sill is smiles after being placed in a motorcycle sidecar for a ride, at the Heart of the Valley long-term care facility in Middleton Wednesday. At right is motorcycle celebrity and Wharf Rat Rally ambassador Kevin Bean’re, who drove the bike.