HomeTown Heroes is a non-profit organization that started out in Union County, NC but has expanded their reach into neighboring counties like Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, etc. HomeTown Heroes provides emotional and financial support to families whose children have been diagnosed with cancer. Each child gets an individual sponsor so that family truly becomes part of the HomeTown Heroes family. In general, the sponsor visits the child at home, at the hospital and keeps the whole group of HomeTown Heroes informed on how that child and family are doing.
Each year, Hometown Heroes plans several events to raise money for the children and their families. There are no paid positions at HomeTown Heroes. All board members are volunteers. All profits HomeTown Heroes makes during the year goes directly to the families of HomeTown Heroes. For the past 13 years, September is the month HomeTown Heroes hosts their Road Tour. Planning of this Road Tour takes months. A lot of people are involved in the planning of the Road Tour in order to make it a fantastic experience for not only the participants, but for the kids and their families during the Kick Off prior to the Road Tour.
Last year, the Road Tour Kick Off was held at Texas Roadhouse in Matthews. Riders, businesses, HomeTown Heroes members, people from the community, news channels and most importantly, some of the families HomeTown Heroes supports were all in attendance to celebrate those children in remission, remember the children that were lost due to cancer and to celebrate life in general.
Breakfast was served prior to announcements, dancing occurred, laughter, friendship and true bonding was felt among the attendees. Maggie Hamilton started the presentation by singing the National Anthem.
The announcements started and each child sponsored by HomeTown Heroes received a check. Over $14,000 was given to the families that day.
One child, a young boy, had to go to Boston to receive treatments. He and his family obviously couldn’t make it to the Kick Off, but not only did he still receive a check, he also received a t-shirt signed by hundreds of people who did attend the Kick Off just to let him know we were thinking about him.
At the end of the announcements, “In the Arms of An Angel” by Sara Maclachlan played while there was a balloon release. Each of the balloons represented a HomeTown Heroes child who lost their battle with cancer and is now in Heaven.
Once the announcements were complete, it was time to drive three special children to school in style. No, not in a limo. No, not in a hot air balloon…no, we need something loud, something spectacular to show these kids how much we and their community support them…so what did they get??
A police escort to school. Not just any old police escort, no. These children were escorted like the President. Roads were blocked, sirens and lights blaring, and behind those police cars? Hundreds of motorcycle riders and cars. You could see them for miles. As each child approached their school, signs were out welcoming them back to school, the parking lot was full of other school children shouting their name and welcoming them back. Can you even imagine it? If you can’t, you really should join us next year. There are no words to adequately describe what these children receive.
After the children were dropped off at school, it was time for the official Road Tour to begin. This year we traveled to Maggie Valley, then Gatlinburg, and then back home. We receive a police escort through out the state of North Carolina and if you haven’t ever had a police escort on the I-85, you are missing it. No cars on the road….except the motorcycles, cars and police and sheriff vehicles escorting us. No words.
Payment for the ride includes most meals, hotel accommodations, and most gas. Last year we went to Maggie Valley and Gatlinburg. The ride is a time for fellowship, fun, food, and getting to know people. There are so many fun times during the rides – the spur of the moment pool party, the dinners, the laughter. All for a good cause – Helping kids with cancer. What could be better than that?
This year, the ride will be September 18, 2015 – September 21, 2015 and we will be traveling to Statesboro, Ga on Friday and to Daytona. Fl on Saturday. There will also be a poker run on the tour!
You can find the application here.
Ironhorse is offering $25.00 off the first 8 applications received! Hurry!
Or, if you are interested in sponsoring a gas stop or part of the ride, please contact me at katie at katietalkscarolina.com!
I will see you there!