You might not think about Christmas in July, but some local motorcycle enthusiasts have made the Christmas in July Toy Run a part of the Fayetteville landscape for the past six years.
    The event, which raises funds for the Children’s Miracle Network and the Duke Children’s Hospital, is the brainchild of two local men — Joe Cook and William Winford, both associates at the Wal-Mart Logistics Distribution Center located in Hope Mills. Their goal is to make the event the largest charity motorcycle event in the state.
    Wal-Mart has long been a corporate sponsor of the Children’s Network, signing on in 1988. Since that time,        Wal-Mart/SAM’sClub associates and customers have raised and contributed more than $300 million to the Children’s Network. Locally, the event has raised more than $46,000 in cash and toys for the hospital.
    The Children’s Miracle Network is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children by raising funds and awareness for 170 nonprofit hospitals throughout North America, serving more than 17 million children with all types of illnesses. Research funded by the Children’s Miracle Network helps give babies a chance for happier, healthier lives.
Held each July, the event raises cash and collects toys for use in the hospital. Each rider who participates in the event pays a $15 entry fee and brings one toy. Each additional rider must pay a $10 fee. Last year, the event brought in more than $9,000 in cash, and more than $4,000 in toys and gifts.
    The gifts are used to fund the hospital’s “treasure chest” for the children. Items needed include: rattles, stackable rings, lullaby tapes/CDs, stack and sort blocks, musical toys, Legos, playing cards, dinosaurs, trains, Barbie dolls, Playdoh, journals, craft kits, disposable cameras, magazines, door basketball goals, gift cards to restaurants, and other items for the playroom, which includes DVDs, Nintendo game cube games, bubbles, crayons, construction paper and CDs.
    {mosimage}This year’s event is slated for Saturday, July 19, with the rally point at M&M Leather and Custom Cycle, one of the many corporate sponsors of the event. Registration is from 7:30-9:50 a.m. While waiting for the ride to start, participants can purchase raffle tickets and take part in an auction. At 9:50 a.m., the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department will give riders a safety brief prior to their departure.
    The brief is important, as riders will travel through four counties and nine cities on the run up to the Duke University Children’s Hospital. The ride will officially kick off at 10 a.m., with riders heading out Bragg Boulevard on their way to Durham. With an expected 300 riders and almost a mile in length, it is important that riders obey the safety rules and are aware of the route the ride is taking.
    Riders are expected to arrive at Duke University Children’s Hospital at noon, where they can enjoy a great lunch provided by Texas Roadhouse. At 1 p.m., the money and gifts will be presented to the hospital in a special ceremony that involves the families whose children are being treated at Duke. At 1:30 p.m., riders can head back down the road to Fayetteville to prepare for the closing ceremonies.
    This year, as in past years, a cookout will be held at M&M Leather. There will be a 50/50 drawing, as well as drawings for various gifts and prizes. In addition to the great fun and prizes, there will also be some awesome entertainment, featuring Gasoline, Wicked Lizard and DD Productions.
        On Friday night, a pre-event Kick-Start Party will be held at Legends Pub from 6-8 p.m. Participants can pre-register for the ride at that time.
Corporate partners include: Double D Productions, JEB Designs, Legends, M&M Leather, Up & Coming Weekly, Texas Roadhouse, The Custom Edge, Inc. Wal-Mart Logistics TO 6840 and DC 6040 and Arctic Fox Video Production


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