PHILADELPHIA, May 5, 2011 - The Muscular Dystrophy Association today announced that last weekend's 24th annual Harley-Davidson Ride For Life raised $956,937 to advance MDA's lifesaving mission. Donations are still being collected for the 2011 event, and Harley-Davidson enthusiasts have raised more than $15 million for MDA since 1988 by consistently turning out for Ride for Life.
Motorcyclists from all over the Mid-Atlantic region revved up their bikes in Southeastern Pennsylvania Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1 to take part in the legendarily fun event. MDA and Eastern Harley-Davidson Dealers Association (EHDDA) welcomed enthusiasts at the VF Outlet Center in Reading on Saturday where they enjoyed food, games, shopping, live entertainment and the first Ride For Life Chili Cook-Off. The Blue Mountain H.O.G. Chapter won Best Overall Chili, judged by event VIPs, while the People's Choice Chili Winner award went to the Deer Lake H.O.G. Chapter.
Day one festivities carried on into the evening with the Downtown Biker Party in West Reading. Thanks to community leaders, the celebration was open to the public and Ride For Life participants.
"This year's event invited local residents and riders from all over Pennsylvania and surrounding states to enjoy a 24-year tradition that's all about having a great time, while helping MDA speed worldwide research seeking treatments and cures for muscle diseases - affecting so many local families," said Brian Bentley, Dealer Principal Brian's Harley-Davidson and Ride for Life Steering Committee President. "Ride For Life showcases the many dedicated motorcycle enthusiasts that are involved in the fight against neuromuscular diseases, who truly enjoy helping MDA raise money for, and to inspire, the families they serve."
Day two of the event began with a parade of over 750 motorcycle riders gathering at East Penn Manufacturing and taking a scenic ride to Dorney Park in Allentown. Once at the amusement park, all participants had complete access to rides, food, a bike raffle drawing and the closing ceremony.
"Ride for Life is such a cool event," said Abbey Umali, MDA National Goodwill Ambassador. "I enjoyed attending for the second year in a row and I especially loved riding in a sidecar. It was REALLY fun! All of the Harley-Davidson dealers and riders are so nice. It's great to know that we can always count on them to help MDA!"
Twelve-year-old Umali, who is serving an unprecedented 4th term as MDA National Goodwill Ambassador, was joined by several MDA goodwill ambassadors from multiple states at the event. The kids were on site to join the fun and to thank Ride For Life participants for the incredible difference they're making for so many families fighting muscular dystrophy.
When it came time to measure fundraising success, John Beale of Valley Forge Harley-Davidson and Valley Forge H.O.G. earned the top honor of first place individual fundraiser for the second year in a row raising a total of $33,561 for this year's event.
For 24 years, Ride For Life has brought chrome and leather together for what has become the nation's largest annual charity motorcycle ride. The event has raised more than $15 million to help MDA assist families in the Mid-Atlantic area affected by neuromuscular diseases. Riders raise funds primarily by soliciting pledges from friends and local businesses, aiming for goals like funding one minute of MDA research at $74. For more information about Ride For Life 24, please visit www.mdarideforlife.org/.
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association, which was the nonprofit to be recognized by the American Medical Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award ("for significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity,"), also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.
About The Eastern Harley-Davidson Dealers Association
Since 1988, the Eastern Harley-Davidson Dealers have supported the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The group's 38 authorized dealer members represent one of the most charitable groups in the country. For a complete list of dealers, visit the Eastern Harley-Davidson Dealers Association website: www.RideWithUs.org