Gift of giving
The fourth annual John Rothwell Memorial Motorcycle Ride and Hot Rod event for local sick children took place on Sat., July 28. The organizers, White Knucklerz motorcycle club, presented each of this year’s three children with the gift of their choice after the ride through the counties of SDG. In orange shirt, front, from left, Sean, 10, with his Playstation 4, Liam, 17, with his Xbox One; and Alaya, 16, with her stand-in gift after previously receiving a laptop.       Sawyer Helmer photo

Kalynn Sawyer Helmer
Record Staff
CORNWALL – On Sat., July 28, 37 motorcyclists drove in the fourth annual John Rothwell Memorial Motorcycle Ride and Hot Rod event for local sick children. The ride, organized by the White Knucklerz club, began after loosing John Rothwell to cancer. Larry O’Byrne, said the riders wanted to do something in his honour to help out sick children in Cornwall and SDG.

Each year, three or four children are chosen by the club after getting suggestions from Rachel’s Kids, the Cornwall development fund. This year Liam, Alaya and Sean were the guests of honour.

Liam, 17, suffers from ulcerative colitis. He explained this means the cells in his body attack the lining of the colon. The disease can be treated with medications but this was not the case for Liam. “To help me, I had to get my whole colon removed,” he said. Liam now has an ileostomy bag and will be going through a few more surgeries to get the bag removed. He is a student at Tagwi and is looking forward to using the Xbox One given to him from the White Knucklerz’ event.

Alaya, 16, has Li-Fraumeni syndrome. “The average person has cancer fighting genes and I don’t have those genes. I’ve had six cancers and counting and just had a double mastectomy as a preventative measure,” she said. Alaya’s gift from the club was a laptop. The gift, she said has been a big help with her studies as she plans to go to university after her final year. Alaya said she is interested in Criminology and completing her schooling in French to maintain the language.

Sean, 10, has Short Bowel Syndrome. His mom said the disease was apparent even before he was born and Sean underwent surgery right after birth to have 80 per cent of his bowel removed. Sean who is going into Grade 5 at Rose des Vents in Cornwall was gifted a Playstation 4.

Laurie Robinson of the White Knucklerz said if the children are feeling up for it, they even go on the ride during the event. This year Liam and Sean both participated in the trek starting from Lancaster to Williamstown, St. Raphael’s, Martintown, Finch, Ingleside, Long Sault and ending in Cornwall. Afterwards there was a barbecue and music for everyone to enjoy. Many other clubs from the area showed their support and joined the White Knucklerz, a club of about 10, on the ride. “It just makes us feel good to help,” said O’Byrne.