Event helps the terminally ill

A day with Santa Claus

MECCA — Motorcyclists spent the day riding through Trumbull County to help raise money for terminally ill children to spend a day with Santa Claus.

Along with the poker run, the group hosted a car show and gift basket raffle at the Yellow Dog Saloon and Grill.

Mary Elwood, along with her husband, John, and other organizers for the 12th annual event, said the money will cover costs to let terminally ill children spend one last Christmas any time of the year at the Santa’s Hide-A-Way Hollow in Middlefield Township.

“We have held many events each year, including this, one which is very popular. There are children who are terminally ill, those with Down syndrome and autism who we help to get to see Santa,” Elwood said.

She said veterans from hospitals in Cleveland and Sandusky also have had the opportunity to see Santa.

“Everything Santa does it all volunteer for the benefit of the children,” Elwood said.

She said the group is fortunate to have so many volunteers and also people who donate items for the Chinese auction and car show.

“People really come together to help,” said Elwood who refers to the group of motorcyclists as “Santa’s Bad Elves” who do good. The group has 60 members who help at fundraising events.

The event has been held at the Cortland Moose Lodge and then in recent years moved by Mosquito Lake State Park.

Items raised also are used for Santa getting toys for children in hospitals throughout the year.

In the past 11 years the event has raised $40,000, Elwood said.

The first stop on the poker run is Santa’s Hide-A-Way Hollow so the riders can see where their money goes.

“When we first started the ride, we were looking for a place to donate. My boss was at an event and heard Santa speaking on what he does and suggested we donate to that effort,” Elwood said.

She said Bill Dieterle, the workshop owner who “aids” Santa, is also an ordained minister who also will be marrying the Elwoods’ daughter in a few weeks.

Kelly Mulligan, who was among the volunteers, said 200 bikers rode in the poker run. There were more than 80 gift baskets.

Also featured was a dedication to their deejay, Sean Creen, who died this year age 46 of cancer, Elwood said.