One of the largest and longest-running single-day motorcycle events in the Midwest came to Woodstock May 21.

More than 500 motorcyclists took part in the Little Angels Pledge Run at Woodstock Harley-Davidson, 2235 S. Eastwood Dr. The event, now in its 30th year, provides assistance to the Marklund Wasmond Center at Little Angels, Elgin.

Chuck and Marilyn Fischer founded the Little Angels Pledge Run through their Elgin Harley Owners Group as a way to give back, and it has: the motorcycle ride has raised more than $5 million for the Marklund Wasmond Center at Little Angels, which helps people with profound disabilities.

When the Elgin HOG chapter was left without a home base several years ago, the club renamed itself the Elgin Area Organization of Motorcycle Riders, but the group didn’t have a host. That is when Doug Jackson, part owner of Woodstock Harley-Davidson, offered to partner with them. 

“We cannot say enough good things about Woodstock Harley-Davidson. They have been so gracious, and they stepped in when our run was left without a home,” EAO member and pledge run coordinator Beth Norman said. 

Jackson values the opportunity to partner with the EAO and the Little Angels Pledge Run. He said that seeing the smiles on the residents’ faces is great, and he is thankful the run raises awareness and financial support. 

“Money is so very critical for the continued awesome care that this home provides, especially during these uncertain times with state funding,” he said.

Joe Barry of Carpentersville has been a supporter of the Little Angels Pledge Run for several years. His daughter Kirsten has been a resident at the Marklund Wasmond Center at Little Angels for 15 years.

“[The Marklund Wasmond Center at Little Angels] has been a godsend for us. Very few places can handle Kirsten’s needs,” Barry said. “It is wonderful to live so close to her and to have the motorcycle community behind this means a lot. They are charitable and they love to ride. It makes a difference in the lives of the residents.”

Chuck Haas from Huntley was working security for the event. “It’s really cool to see the bike community come together to help out a bunch of kids in need. Bikers often get a bad rap, but they really come together for a good cause,” he said.

Haas’ friend, former Chicago Bears running back Roland Harper, said his son, Calvin, wouldn’t be where he is today if it weren’t for the care provided by Little Angels.  

“Doctors said that he wouldn’t live past 4,” Harper said. “He has been at Little Angels for 28 years.”

“[The Marklund Wasmond Center at Little Angels] is an exceptional organization that takes care of severely handicapped adults and children and has given them life beyond their years. I am so proud to be a part of this organization,” Harper continued. “Woodstock Harley-Davidson has been a big supporter of Little Angels. They’ve been magnificent hosts.”

Shelley Lewis, the administrator of Little Angels said, “The biker community has some of the most charitable members of the community. We are so blessed to have their support for the last 30 years. They have been a lifesaver for our facilities and for our families.”

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