April 30, 2007

Delano Sports Center to go 'Cruisin' for St. Jude

By Cullen Schultz
Staff Writer

Millions of people throughout the world suffer from catastrophic diseases such as cancer, Sickle Cell Anemia, and AIDS.

Even more people volunteer their money and time to help prevent and treat these diseases, and St. Jude Children’s Research Center is on the forefront of the charge.

To help prevent and treat people with these serious diseases, the Delano Sports Center (DSC) with Donahue Harley Davidson will be sponsoring Cruisin’ for St. Jude Saturday, May 5.

The Cruisin’ for St. Jude fundraiser was organized about 10 years ago, for St. Jude Children’s Research Center, and it is the first time it will be sponsored by DSC in the Delano area.

“This will be the first Cruisin’ Event for DSC, of many to come,” coordinator Jeani Melgaard said.

The event is designed to raise money, and to educate people about St. Jude Children’s Research Center.

“All money raised goes directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” Melgaard said.

The way the ride is designed to make money is by charging a flat fee for riders, $25 per driver, and $35 dollars if there is a passenger. The riders are also encouraged to find sponsors to donate money for the ride. Donations will be taken throughout the day for anyone who wants to donate to St. Jude’s.

“The money is raised in a few different ways,” Melgaard said.

The idea for organizing Cruisin’ for St. Jude in Delano came when Melgaard, who is the advertising and marketing manager at the DSC, was looking at St. Jude’s web site.

“I was looking at their web site one day, and clicked on a tab that said “Ways to Help.” I saw the Cruisin’ event, and thought that would be a great way for DSC to help the children,” Melgaard said.

The event kicks off with registration at 9 a.m., with rides starting at 10 a.m. Before departure, the motorcyclists are given maps of the route they will take, and then they are on their way.

The scenic route starts at DSC and goes towards Chaska, then Belle Plaine, then towards Arlington, and then back to DSC.

The riders don’t have any predestined stops, and are allowed to go anywhere they see fit to get a break, giving them a unique and fun experience with their fellow riders.

“There are several non-designated stops along the way to rest and get gas,” Melgaard said.

After returning to DSC, a lunch will be served to the riders, allowing some down time for them to relax and talk.

“This year, it will be a taco lunch in honor of Cinco de Mayo,” Melgaard said.

St. Jude Children’s Research Center is known for its pioneering work in researching, finding cures, and saving children from serious diseases such as cancer.

St. Jude is operated totally from donations and events such as Cruisin’ for St. Jude. Generosity is the key to St. Jude’s success, because operating costs run over 1 million dollars a day.

“Our goal with having this event is to educate people on how much our help is needed at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” Melgaard said.

The reason operating costs are so high at St. Jude’s is because of new research, and the amount of money it costs to treat its 4,900 patients a year.

Insurance only goes so far, and for some people, insurance doesn’t exist. For people who can’t afford treatment, St. Jude’s covers the expenses, never turning down a sick patient.

“No one pays for treatment beyond what is covered by insurance, and those without insurance are never asked to pay,” Melgaard said.

Melgaard is hoping for about 150 riders for this year’s Cruisin’ for St. Jude.

To assure the potential riders would know about the event, she advertised it through various means such as e-mail and putting up posters in area businesses.

”Considering this is our first year of the event, it may take a few years to get more people involved and get the numbers up,” Melgaard said.

St. Jude’s is on the forefront of curing and preventing serious diseases in children as well as adults, but they can’t continue their progress without the help of donations.

“Our goal is for people to realize how much St. Jude needs generous people to help them succeed,” Melgaard said.

For more information on participating in the Cruisin’ for St. Jude or to make a contribution, contact Jeani Melgaard at (763) 972-4707 or jeani@bikershop.com.

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