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From $200 to nearly $200,000 – Gilda’s Run makes a difference

Posted by: Jennifer Gomori Posted date: June 22, 2015


— By Jennifer Foley, POJ Editor

A gathering of POLC police officers and their biker friends turned a leisurely weekend ride into a way to raise money and hope for cancer patients and their families.

“A group of 20 Police Officers and Dilleywackers went for a nice long Saturday ride and had a barbeque afterward,” said POLC Labor Rep. Will Keizer. “We talked about making it an annual event but we should do something good for the community. We passed the hat and each threw in $10.”

The July 11, 2015 event raised just over $20,000. Sponsored by the Police Officer’s Labor Council (POLC) and Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), Gilda’s Run is in its 15th year of supporting Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, a non-profit providing free emotional and social support to men, women and children with cancer and their families and friends.

The Motorcycle Poker Run for Charity — a scenic drive through Ottawa and Kent counties began and finished at Kosciuszko Hall, 935 Park SW in Grand Rapids.

“We chose Gilda’s due to familiarity with the charity in other states,” said Keizer, Gilda’s Run organizer. “I dropped off $200 in cash and so began the adventure!”

That adventure has grown fivefold in the number of people participating and raised nearly 100 times the original donation.

“That second week in July of 2000 was the first of many great fundraisers and we are proud of the almost $200k we have raised for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids!” Keizer said. “Of those original 20 guys, about half still ride every year. But we have added support from the Axemen M/C Chapter 2 (firefighters) and the Warthogs of Gun Lake (Police/emergency services personnel) and this event has grown to consistently over 100 riders and lots of new friends.”

LEEP traditionally donates $5,000 annually.

Direct any questions to Will Keizer at klink132@comcast.net or (616) 648-3551. Gilda’s Club is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation.

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