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07-11-12-duke-children\'s.gifChristmas isn’t what you typically think of in July, but for many bikers in the Fayetteville area, it’s all that’s on their mind right now. For nine years and counting, bikers from Fayetteville and the surrounding area have come together to help the children of The Children’s Miracle Network and Duke Children’s Hospital.

In years past, the bikers had to pay $15 and an unwrapped gift; addi-tional riders had to pay $10. The gifts are put in the “treasure chest” for the children at the Duke Children’s Hospital. Throughout the years, William Winford has seen changes in the event. Due to its location in Fayetteville, many troops have been overseas during the event, but there is still a good turnout from the other locals. Even with the downward spiral of the econo-my in the past few years, he has still seen how the area embraces the event and the numbers of bikers increase, it is a little bigger and more promoted every year, they have advertised in areas that they haven’t even looked at for advertising in years past.

They are expanding their advertising, so they can get more riders year after year because this event means a lot to the children of the hospital and to their nurses who give them the toys. It also means a great deal to the riders — some of whom were patienst at Duke or whose children have been helped by the facility.

In providing the best care possible to society’s most vulberable, Duke Children’s Hospital focuses on excellence in the clinical care of infants and children; innovation in basic and applied research; leadership in the educa-tion of health care professionals; and advocacy for children’s health. The in-sititution has 28 pediatric specialties, 178 total beds, sees 176,000 pediatric outpatients and 7,000 pediatric admissions each year. The average length of an in-patient stay is nine days. There are 34 regional outreach programs, and the hospital conducts 169 research studies each year.

The more riders that the toy run has, the bigger impact they can have. “I’ve got a number of bikers in mind that I want to come out this year,” said Winfred. “In years past we have had around 300 bikers come, but this year, I want 350 to 400 or 500 bikers to come out for the ride.”

There will be a lot of activities going on such as 50/50 drawings, raffles and other events to help raise money for the hospital. This will be the last year that Rocking Harley, a long-time sponsor of the event will be involved with the toy run, but next year the group organizers hope to have another supporter take their place.

“For the bikers, we will have live entertainment at Legends before the ride,” said Winfred. “Once we get to Duke Hospital, they will have a fresh lunch prepared for them by Texas Roadhouse.”

Once the bikers have had their lunch, they will make the official presentation of the toys and gifts.

If you are interested in participating in the ride, it will take place July 21, rain or shine. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the bikers depart at 10 a.m. from M&M Leather & Custom Cycle/Victory of Fayetteville on Bragg Boulevard. The cost to ride is $15 and an unwrapped gift, and any passengers are $10 each. The bikers will have police escorts through the whole ride. When you sign up, you will receive an vent T-shirt and event pin.

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