Midnight Ride raises funds, awareness for juvenile diabetes research
Departing at the stroke of midnight on Friday, August 21 from the Meijer parking lot in Rockford, more than 2,000 motorcycle enthusiasts will drive together to St. Ignace, Mich., raising awareness and funds for type 1/juvenile diabetes research.
The 23rd annual Midnight Ride is organized by West Michigan chapters of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) and involves motorcyclists from more than 25 Michigan cities who will caravan some 250 miles through eight counties. The Midnight Ride is believed to be one of the largest of its kind in the country. The caravan of motorcycles stretches over more than ten miles of road. They will make scheduled stops in Alma, Houghton Lake and Gaylord at approximately 1:30 a.m., 4:00 a.m., and 5:50 a.m., respectively. The group is expected to reach its final destination in St. Ignace at approximately 8:15 a.m. on August 22.
As they ride, supporters—armed with flashlights—line the route in their towns in enthusiastic support of the riders and their efforts.
During the past 22 years, GWRRA’s Midnight Ride has raised more than $236,000 for diabetes research. In 2008, GWRRA raised approximately $25,400 and this year’s event is expected to be another successful fundraising opportunity.
Juvenile diabetes is an autoimmune disease causing the immune system to attack insulin-producing cells in the body, making its victims dependent on multiple, daily insulin injections or a constant insulin pump for life. The disease affects nearly three million Americans, most commonly attacking children, as many as 13,000 each year in the U.S. (35 children each day).
According to Randy Vieu, chapter director of the GWRRA, the Midnight Ride was organized by one man who personally struggled with diabetes. “Since then it has snowballed into a tradition of more than 2,000 riders supporting the same cause,” said Vieu.