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POLC, LEEP recognized for steadfast support of cancer patients

Posted by: Jennifer Gomori Posted date: April 28, 2016

— By Jennifer Foley, POJ Editor

The Police Officers Labor Council has provided strong support for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids for the past 15 years and the efforts have not gone unnoticed by the non-profit cancer support agency.

“Police Officers Labor Council has been an integral part of our success on an annual basis as our organization is 100 percent dependant on charitable gifts,” said Daryl Vogel, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids Vice President of Development. “Any time we have individuals or groups choosing to create their own event, it’s very important to us.”

Gilda’s Run, a motorcycle poker run for charity started by 20 police officers and Dilleywackers, will host their 16th annual ride this July. Sponsored by the POLC and Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), the event raised $20,000 last year, $5,000 of which was donated by LEEP. LEEP will again kick off the campaign this year with another $5,000 donation.

In all the event has raised almost $180,000 for Gilda’s Club, a non-profit providing free emotional and social support to men, women and children with cancer and their families and friends.

“(POLC Labor Rep.) Will Keizer has done an absolutely marvelous job of spearheading that whole event,” Gildas-BikersLRVogel said. “It means the world to the members because free services are expensive! Offering free programming has been the mission and vision for Gilda’s Club since it started — to be a beacon of support to people on a cancer or grief journey. The POLC motorcycle run has been a huge part of that.”

Gilda’s Run will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 9, 2016 with a continental breakfast and end around 5 p.m. with a barbeque pig roast. In between, bikers and cagers will enjoy a scenic drive through Ottawa and Kent counties that starts and ends at Kosciuszko Hall, 935 Park SW in Grand Rapids.

The cost is $30 per person or $55 per couple, including the barbeque. It’s $10 per person for dinner only.

“Of those original 20 guys, about half still ride every year,” Keizer said. “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.”

Vogel said it’s really something special to see all those public safety officers come together to support the charity. Gilda’s volunteers assist annually with the event to show their support.

“There’s such a brotherhood of police, retired police officers, firefighters and public safety officers,” Vogel said. “They shut off their bikes long enough for us to say thank you and let them know how much we deeply appreciate their efforts. I can tell you that it’s an inspiration to the staff. It buoys the spirits of the staff to see the community rally around what we do on a daily basis.”

Sponsors can have their business or organization name printed on “16th Anniversary Gilda’s Run” shirts for a donation of $250, either monetary or in donated items. Donations are tax deductible with 100 percent going to Gilda’s Club.

Riders who pre-register by June 20, 2016 will receive a free “16th Anniversary Gilda’s Run” long- or short-sleeve shirt. Send checks made payable to: “Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids”, Attention: Will Keizer, 1293 Oakwood Dr., Jenison, MI 49428. Please include shirt type and size(s). The deadline to become a sponsor is also June 20. Forward a file copy of your logo for the shirt printing and direct any questions to: Will Keizer at [email protected] or (616) 648-3551.

Gilda’s Club is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.

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