Local Motorcyclists Ride for Hopkins Children's Center
The 5th annual Jillian Ride to benefit Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and the Ronald McDonald House raised more than $4,000 on May 26th.
Philanthropy in the Reisterstown area comes from organizations of all kinds. Churches, schools, temples, businesses, service clubs, and even from its motorcycle clubs.
The 5th annual Jillian Ride to benefit Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and the Ronald McDonald House on May 26th was organized by one man, Barrett Knight, but has raised a lot of money over the years thanks to the Souls of Steel motorcycle club and its sister club, The Unchained Few. Although not officially affiated with the ride, the clubs support the Jillian Ride each year.
The motorcycle groups and many other local motorcyclists came together on Saturday for food, friends, and great day for a ride through western Maryland.
The ride started at the Full Moon Pub, continued to New Market in Frederick, and ended at Belissimo’s in Finksburg. The riders enjoyed food and drinks and raffled for baskets and door prizes to help raise money for the cause. Registration for each bike was $25. This year, the ride raised more than $4,000 with the help of at least 134 riders. It was the most successfull ride to date.
A rider and member of Souls of Steel who goes by the nickname “Sweeper” came on Saturday for his 4th Jillian Ride. “We’re gonna ride anyway, so we might as well ride for a good cause,” he said.
Barrett Knight, who is not a Souls of Steel member, first brought his motorcycle friends together five years ago to raise money for his niece Jillian Kinn, daughter of his sister Julie Kinn, after Jillian had a bicycle accident in 2007 that put her in critical condition. Knight saw immediate support in organizing the event from his friends in the motorcycle community.
“Without even knowing my niece, people wanted to help. If you need something, they get it for you,” he said. Jillian is now 15.
In Sept. 2007, Knight’s niece, then 10-year-old Jillian Kinn was going out for a bike ride in her neighborhood with her family. Jillian’s mom, Julie, noticed Jillian’s helmet was loose and took it off of her to fix, and instructed Jillian and her siblings to meet her back at their house to fix the helmet. With her mom behind, Jillian went back toward the garage but stopped to avoid a passing car and flew off her bike.
The injuries from the fall were so severe, that Jillian was transported to Johns Hopkins Hospital from her home in Taneytown in Carroll County. Without her helmet on at the moment, Jillian had sustained severe injuries to her head. She was cared for by doctors and nurses at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and went on to Kennedy Krieger for rehabilitation. Ronald McDonald House put her family up in an apartment near Hopkins, providing food and other necessities, while Jillian was undergoing treatment.
Jillian’s uncle Barrett came to help his family care for Jillian and saw the situation that his niece was in. But he also saw the other kids who were at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. Many of the kids in care there were in conditions they would never recover from.
“I had to get out of there, I was devastated,” he said.
Knight was heartbroken and wanted to help his family absorb the cost of Jillian’s medical bills, not knowing how long she would need to recover, and began to plan a fundraiser to help Jillian and her family.
After one week at Hopkins, two weeks at Kennedy Krieger and outpatient care, Jilliam was able to make a full recovery in time for the first Jillian Ride in May 2008, but Kinn and Knight felt that there were still kids in need.
“So many of those kids don’t get insurance so they don’t get the care they need,” Kinn said.
And so instead, the money raised at the Jillian Ride was given to Johns Hopkins Children Center as well as the Ronald McDonald House.
Kinn stepped in to help her brother, made food and put together giveaways for raffles. Full Moon, which is biker-friendly, has been the start-off location all five years. $3,500 was raised last year.
The Full Moon was full of people ready for the ride. Shawn Hull, who brought a table-full of friends from Essex, never knew Barrett Knight until he received the flyer for the 1st Jillian Ride, and the two have become great friends. “A great ride, a great cause and many more to come,” Hull said.