Bikers band together to fight childhood cancer

Bob Thomas and daughter Vicky, then 13, participating in last year’s R.O.C.K. Ride. Submitted Photo

It was 11 years ago Bob Thomas lost a daughter to cancer, but the passion that drove him to help other sick kids by launching a motorcycle event hasn’t waned.

“Children are still dying. Children are still suffering from the treatment,” he said.

“When they can finally close all the childhood cancer wards then I’ll be done. Until then, they still need money and we’ll keep raising it.”

Thomas organized Ride for Our Cancer Kids (R.O.C.K.) after one of his twin girls, Samantha, died of lymphoma three days before her third birthday.

From that tragedy arose an event that’s raised more than $300,000 for childhood cancer research.

The 11th annual R.O.C.K. Ride goes Saturday, July 5 with more than 100 motorcycles joining the ride, with a mid-point barbecue in Chatham and prizes.

The event has grown each year and every cent is turned over to Childhood Cancer Canada, which supports research at 17 Canadian hospitals, including Victoria Hospital in London.

“Last year was our best so far, with $39,100 (raised,) and we’re hoping for $40,000 this year,” said Thomas, of Corunna.

Samantha’s twin, Vicky, 14, will sing at the finale and brother Noah, who recently turned 16, is taking part on his own bike for the first time.

The new format is a Poker Run, allowing participants to go at their own pace.

“From the sounds of it there should be pretty good numbers this year,” Thomas said.

The ride leaves from Motorsport Harley-Davidson on Confederation Street and ends at Rustic, formerly the Stubborn Mule.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and bikes leave between 10 and 11.
For more, or to make a pledge, visit www.rockride.com

– Journal Staff