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Article Archive >> Featured Topics

Those Bikers Are At It Again

Those Bikers Are At It Again
by Jennifer LB Leese

Many imagine bikers as rough and tough thugs, with little to no compassion, however, this isn't particularly true - inside motorcycle circles, most bikers (or those who enjoy the motorcycle lifestyle) are some of the most giving, kind-hearted, and hard working volunteers you will ever meet.
In fact, many motorcycle communities regularly hold events where the proceeds benefit area and national charities and families.
"Those Bikers" is one of those communities. Over the years, this organization has donated monetary funds and merchandise to area charities and small independent events. Kayla's Run is "in memory of my granddaughter. I pledge to Jesus that I would help all the children that I could," Brenda Rippeon, one of Those Bikers, said.
"We are a non-profit organization that helps children with serious illnesses. We have assisted several children. In those events, we have helped with medical bills and try to bring comfort to the families while they are going through terrible times."
When Brenda contacted me about their upcoming ride, Kayla's Run, I knew I had to do my part - to help get the word out!
The event is a motorcycle ride through the mountains of Hagerstown and into Western Maryland. It will take place on Saturday, May 5, 2007 at Richardson's Restaurant, 710 Dual Highway, Hagerstown, at 9am if you plan to eat breakfast there. Otherwise, the ride leaves at 11am. Raindate is May 19. Donations of $10.00 per person benefit the Autism Society of America, Washington County Chapter.
"I have to say Those Bikers come out of the woodwork to do what we have to do to help children and their families," said Brenda. "When people see us all come together and ride our motorcycles through town, they know we are on a mission. People stop on the streets and wave and yell - cars blow their horns, cheering us on.
"If people could take us to heart and realize we're all good people, and if you see us out there, you'll know it is for a good cause."
About Autism
"Autism is a complex developmental disability with symptoms typically appearing during the first three years of childhood. It is the result of a neurological disorder affecting normal development of the brain, which impacts areas of communication and social interaction," said Carol A. Kowalski, spokeswoman for The Washington County Chapter of the Autism Society of America, Inc. "Autism is a spectrum disorder affecting each individual differently and at varying degrees." Carol went on to explain that the term Autism usually refers to three of the five disorders under the umbrella term Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD): Autistic disorder, Asperger disorder, and PDD - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). "Early intervention and diagnosis are crucial to improvement," she said.
"According to a recent CDC study, Autism now affects 1 in every 150 children, making it more common than childhood cancer, cystic fibrosis, and multiple sclerosis combined. While the cause of autism is not entirely known, it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure and/or function. The source of the abnormality is hypothesized to be a combination of environmental toxins, toxins within vaccinations, metabolic imbalances, and a combination of genes leading to a predisposition to develop autism. Regardless of the cause, Autism is not a mental illness. Autism is not caused by bad parenting. Children with autism are not unruly children who refuse to behave. Psychological factors during the development of a child are not known to cause autism. There is no known cure, however with early intervention and intensive therapy, these individuals have the potential to live normal, healthy lives." (The Washington County Chapter of the Autism Society of America, Inc.)
Kowalski went on to say, "People with autism also process and respond to information in unique ways. In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may be present. Persons with autism may also exhibit some of the following traits:
* Insistence on sameness; resistance to change
* Difficulty in expressing needs, using gestures or pointing instead of words
* Repeating words or phrases in place of normal, responsive language
* Laughing (and/or crying) for no apparent reason showing distress for reasons not apparent to others
* Preference to being alone; aloof manner
* Tantrums
* Difficulty in mixing with others
* Not wanting to cuddle or be cuddled
* Little or no eye contact
* Unresponsive to normal teaching methods
* Sustained odd play
* Spinning objects
* Obsessive attachment to objects
* Apparent over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity to pain
* No real fears of danger
* Noticeable physical over-activity or extreme under-activity
* Uneven gross/fine motor skills
* Non responsive to verbal cues; acts as if deaf, although hearing tests in normal range.
The Washington County Chapter of the Autism Society of America, Inc. revolves around a network of supportive parents, caregivers, therapists, doctors, paraprofessionals, individuals with autism, and advocates for autism awareness. "We are a small, yet growing group with a message board hosted on Yahoo! at: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/WACASA/. We rely on the information and resources provided by local organizations as well as Autism Society of America, Inc.'s main office in Bethesda in conjunction with various local Chapters within Maryland. We are very thankful for all supporters and advocates. We look forward to a positive event through the benevolence and advocacy from Those Bikers through Kayla's Run. We are always hopeful for more advocates, supporters, and warmly welcome all interested in joining our community within our Chapter," said Carol.
Awareness is key to knowledge.
Fred A. Balkin, a principal attorney at Stein Sperling, Bennett, De Jong, Driscoll & Greenfeig, P.C.and chairman of the firm's accident/injury practice group, first learned about the gravity of this devastating neurological disorder upon speaking with a client's spouse. "I was shocked to learn that autism is increasing at 10-17 percent a year in America and that by the end of the decade it will have affected over 4 million Americans." Upon learning this, Mr. Balkin elected to make Stein Sperling a sponsor of Kayla's Run and is utilizing the firm's resources and relationships to help raise money for autism research.
Contact
For further information about Stein, Sperling, Bennett, De Jong, Driscoll & Greenfeig, P.C., call 301-340-2020.
For further information about Kayla's Run contact Brenda Rippeon at 304-258-8079 or J.C. Rice at 301-824-4135 or visit www.steinsperling.com/kaylasrun.
For further information about the Austism Society of America, Washington County Chapter, contact Carol Kowalsky at 301-573-9638.
"Please come out and make the run or stop by and make a donation to Austism Society of America, Washington County Chapter. Everyone is welcome - 2 wheels or 4 wheels." A $10.00 donation includes the run, food, door prizes, and entries in raffles.
"Those Bikers" care. They encourage all riders to "ride safe". When asked when the next ride will be, Brenda said, "When we get a phone call."

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