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Cruisin' for a cause

The ATI Foundation’s 12th annual Cruisin’ for Kids event in Shorewood drew in more than 130 motorcycle riders Aug. 22.

Local men and women geared up in support of kids living with physical impairments, embarking on a127-mile countryside cruise of Shorewood with additional stops in Morris and Ottawa.

Registration began at 9 a.m., followed by the first bike out at 10 a.m., the last bike in at 4 p.m. and concluded with a post-ride celebration between 3 and 6 p.m. at Skooter’s Roadhouse, 700 West Jefferson St.

Cruisin’ for Kids included food, live entertainment and presentations, where five northern Illinois residents were provided with medical resources or financial assistance based on community referrals.

Terry Williams, director of the ATI Foundation, explained what Cruising for Kids means to those living with physical impairments.

“(The event) gives them an opportunity for recreation,” he said. “When riders are seen on motorcycles, it gives them a sense of freedom.”

Williams said he reached out to American Legion, a Morris-based motorcycle club where individuals possess various levels of experience, to get people involved and others appeared by word of mouth.

Michael Craven, a resident of Frankfort, has been a motorcycle rider for 18 years. He said Cruisin’ for Kids was one of the most enjoyable poker runs he’d ever experienced, emphasizing that it’s always a good time when you’re riding with good people for a good cause.

On average, the event allows kids living with physical impairments and their families to receive $2,000. This year, Cruisin’ for Kids drew in over $24,000 with all proceeds gained throughout the day going back to the five kids.

Terry Takis, co-owner at Skooter’s Roadhouse, said the restaurant has hosted the event once before and hopes to be involved in many more to come.

“[Cruisin’ for Kids] really does fit the venue and its size,” he said, noting the turnout and how the restaurant’s country feel adds to the hype.

Williams said the event serves as a reminder that we’re all dealing with different challenges and difficulties in life, emphasizing that it provides the community a chance to give back.

One of the beneficiaries of the Cruisin’ for Kids event is Olivia, a 14-year old who has several physical impairments that prevented her from walking until a year ago. The foundation presented Olivia with a tandem bicycle, a two-seated model, which will give her the opportunity to experience what it’s like to ride a bike.

Seven-year old Ava, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer, was also helped by the ATI Foundation, which gave her $3,500 to help her pay for medical expenses. Meanwhile, 11-year old Liam, who has Duchene Muscular Dystrophy, and his family received $3,000 to help them make home improvements.

Megan, a 13-year old girl with muscular cancer, and Nathan, a 6-year old boy with a rare liver disease, received $3,000 and $3,500, respectively for home repairs and medical expenses. Cruisin’ for Kids was sponsored by ATI Physical, Skooter’s Roadhouse, Loberg Construction and Advanced Rehabilitation Systems. The ATI Foundation has been serving the needs of the community since 2003.

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