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WEST VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS

LAKE CASITAS : Bikers Raise $17,000 for Kids Needing Organs

August 29, 1994|J.E. MITCHELL

Replete with roaring "hogs," shiny buckles and black leather chaps, an estimated 1,300 motorcyclists rode from Newhall to Lake Casitas Sunday to raise funds for a children's organ transplant charity.

The second annual "Ride for Life" covered a 70-mile trek from a Newhall-area motorcycle shop to the Ventura County lake, where they finished the ride with a picnic and outdoor concert. The event netted an estimated $17,000 for the nonprofit World Children's Transplant Fund, according to Mark A. Kroeker, the organization's founder.

"We've been astounded by the turn-out," said Kroeker, a deputy chief for the Los Angeles Police Department. "It's very gratifying to see all these people come out and spend the day with us. It says that we're getting our message out."

Participants in Sunday's event paid $30 each to participate in the ride and then enjoy lunch and a short concert at the lake afterward. Some supporters ride along in their cars; others simply join up at the lake for the food and concert. Actor Lorenzo Lamas, star of the television show "Renegade," led the bikers during the ride and served as host for the event.

"I was touched by the outpouring of support we've had today," he said. "It warmed my heart to see so many people give up one of their hard-earned days off to join us."

For Yvonne Tello of Oak View, the event was the perfect chance to enjoy the sun, listen to music and enjoy a picnic.

"We came out for this last year--the kids really love the bikes," said Tello, 33. "My husband and I enjoy the day and it's all for a great cause."

The fund helps arrange for and subsidize organ transplants for children in the United States and around the world. Kroeker founded the organization after a 1987 trip to Argentina during which he met a 12-year-old girl in need of a liver transplant.

"Since that time, I would guess that we have been involved in making several hundred transplants happen since then. The work we're doing is very satisfying because it's giving kids a second chance."

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