Jimmy says Ride for Kids Day is the most fun you can have on three wheels!

Check out our kids’ puzzle and a motorcycle joke following this article about Jimmy and the PBTF.

The Spagnolo family with a Ride for Kids volunteer in 2019.

On September 12, 2021, motorcyclists across the country will be revving their engines for “Ride for Kids Day,” the nation’s longest-running charitable motorcycle ride. For 30 years, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF) and American Honda have partnered together to raise funds for medical research and family programs for children battling brain tumors. This year’s event happens during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

For children with brain tumors, these rides make them and their families Stars; the day is all about them. I spoke to one such Star Family, the Spagnolos, on behalf of the BMW MOA. Jimmy Spagnolo is an energetic almost 11-year-old (at the time of the interview), and his mom Lacie is an enthusiastic supporter of the fundraising event. Jimmy has an optic pathway glioma, a cancerous tumor that grows slowly in or around the nerve connecting the eye to the brain. He was diagnosed at four years old, and he endured four separate rounds of chemotherapy before he was even seven years old. Along with his dad Jim and his younger sister Lily, he and his family have been on an emotional ride of their own.

Jimmy with a Ride for Kids volunteer in 2018.

To some extent though, they can set all that aside when they participate in the “Ride for Kids.” Lacie expresses how meaningful the fundraiser is from the Spagnolos’ standpoint: “It gives us a chance to be together outside of a hospital. There’s no price tag you can put on that for a family like ours, in a high-stress situation, making life-and-death decisions every day. [The event] gives us peace of mind and recharges us. When we’re on the ride we completely zone out, and it’s just us and the road. When we get back, we’re ready to take on whatever we have to do, and we know we’re doing it for a cause that’s eventually going to help these kids get less invasive treatments and a cure one day. It gives us hope.”

Lacie says they’ve been blessed with sunny weather in the four or five years they’ve attended and that the rides have been flawless. It’s an impressive sight to see what she estimates are 200-300 motorcycles gathered together annually in one place for a single, noble purpose. Lacie also deeply appreciates the volunteers: “This is human nature at its finest; humans doing something nice for other humans out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Lots of motorcycles attend the annual Ride for Kids events!

And what does Jimmy think of the experience? Having ridden both trikes and sidecar rigs, he says he likes trikes better because there’s “more air”—although he does acknowledge that he gets to “eat snacks in the sidecar.” He adds, “I look forward to it every year. It’s really fun, and [the motorcyclists] let me ask a bunch of questions. I like to just forget everything and feel the wind in my hair.”

To learn more about volunteering for a local ride, to accept a virtual challenge to ride all summer long in support of PBTF’s Care. Cure. Thrive. mission, or simply to donate, visit www.rideforkids.org.

Illustration by Mark Morgan. Send us your drawings!

FUN FACT: Did you know that May is not only National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, but also National Brain Tumor Awareness Month?

Your Motorcycle Joke: How do Jedi keep their motorcycle tires in place?

The BMW MOA would like to invite kids 17 and under to submit drawings to this site by email; one will be selected for this space each month. However, since we’re just launching this feature and haven’t received any kid-produced submissions yet, we give you a drawing by Mark Morgan as inspiration; it’s also a teaser for the next article on tap—more on Mark then!”
Your first Kids Page Motorcycle Puzzle is called Vroom, Vr**m, Vowels! Can you figure out the missing vowels that would complete the list of motorcycle parts below?
  1. F**R*NG
  2. D*SHB**RD
  3. H**DL*GHT
  4. BR*K* P*D*L
  5. *XH**ST P*P*
Click here to find the answers to the puzzle and the punchline for this page’s joke!

Penelope Fleming

Penelope Fleming is an author, librarian and lover of all things related to children's literature.