Saturday, 15 August 2020

A biker charity event

By Ladislav Poledna | Prague Daily Monitor |
29 May 2020

The idea to organize a motorcycle charity ride originated in the USA in the early 1980s. The American Love Ride raising money for the less fortunate that has extended to Switzerland and Mexico eventually became an inspiration for Josef „Káďa“ Kadeřábek. He is a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast who used to be a director of the local chapter of the Harley Owners Group, a global Harley-Davidson-sponsored riding club. Back in 2009 after more than a year of preparation and active communication with Oliver Shokouh, the Love Ride founder, and the team of the Love Ride Switzerland organizers, Káďa decided to organize a similar charity event in the Czech Republic together with a group of his friends.

How should the event look like? The headline of the day should be the Parade Ride Through Prague, a ride of motorcycles of all brands and sizes with muscular dystrophy patients in side-cars or in partner vehicles. Visitors from the general public would spend one day together with people with muscular dystrophy, enjoying an exciting program and the proceeds of the event should then go directly to specific needs of muscular dystrophy patients.

The MDA RIDE Celebrates 12 Years: A Success Story

The new MDA RIDE non-profit organization raised a nice sum of 182,000 CZK during the first event that was held at the parking lot of the Letňany shopping mall in September the same year. Starting with the second year, the event was being held in June and at a new location - at Hořejší nábřeží in Smíchov district of Prague and gained an important partner - the city district of Prague 5. Offhand, it was possible to raise more than twice the amount. After the third year, it was already more than 1 million CZK in total. A few celebrities have gradually joined and still continue supporting the MDA RIDE. The MDA RIDE became a successful charity event in the meantime. It managed to raise 2.8 million CZK to the benefit of muscular dystrophy patients during the first seven years.

But a breakthrough came in 2016. The event moved to the very center of Prague to Václavské náměstí and sharply enlarged. And not only that. The annual yield surpassed the magical 1-million-CZK-amount for the first time. And the next ninth event, as well as the tenth one, both were an even bigger success. The last year’s eleventh event brought 1.6 million CZK – the fourth amazing record annual yield in a row.

The MDA RIDE is an annual biker charity event and a big day of solidarity. It is about a joint ride-out of riders on motorcycles of all sizes and brands involving people with muscular dystrophy in cars of partners. This ride-out is definitely not a carefree one. At the present time, the MDA RIDE organizes the largest motorcycle charity event in the Czech Republic being the only such project in the European Union, and a public collection to benefit of individual people with muscular dystrophy who are associated with the AMD ČR (Muscular Dystrophic Association In CZ) and the Parent Project, and to support selected activities of these organizations.

We have donated already more than 7.8 million CZK and helped to finance 391 projects to benefit individual people with muscular dystrophy during our first eleven years 2009 to 2019. We gain all resources by fundraising and take advantage of the free help of many supporters. On average, 1.25% is sufficient to cover our own costs with the events and necessary external services.

A Disease That Has No Mercy

Muscular Dystrophy is a group of genetic muscle diseases that result in the gradual weakening and breakdown of skeletal muscles and prevent movement over time eventually. The causes are unknown, however, it is sure that they are in the very muscle cells. These disorders are characterized by progressive muscle weakness and destruction of muscle cells. The Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) that represents the most severe form of the disease affects about one in 5,000 boys at birth. Initially, the boys have no symptoms. They stealthily start to show approximately from the age of 2 years. It begins with walking difficulties and the boys have to use a wheelchair after some time. The disease gradually weakens skeletal muscles. During adolescence, the respiratory muscles are going to be affected (such people need respiratory support), followed by heart eventually. In many cases, those boys live up to 20 years.

There is no cure yet, but there are treatments available that effectively slow the progression of the disease. Maybe scientists will find a cure one day in the future. Those people will only have their chance if they remain alive until then.

12th MDA RIDE 2020

We are honored that the MDA RIDE has been supported over its history by such celebrities as Oliver Shokouh, the owner of the Harley-Davidson of Glendale dealership in California and the Love Ride founder, William Godfrey "Willie G" Davidson, the legendary motorcycle designer, former Senior Vice-President of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and grandson of one of the founders, or Max Gemperle, the founder and chairman of the Swiss Love Ride.

The MDA RIDE's five-member committee, including myself, is finishing an organization of this year's 12th MDA RIDE which will be held online only on June 6. If we can't ride together with our friends in this pandemic time, we will get in touch remotely on the MDA RIDE's Facebook page and other social media. There will be no gap in the MDA RIDE's history.