Ride for the Kids organization raises money for Dance Marathon

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 20, 2013 5:00 AM

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An all-day motorcycle ride called Ride for the Kids has raised more than $100,000 for the construction of the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

The ride event in Dubuque was held earlier this year, and it raised $129,000 through the UI Foundation. Since its conception in 2009, the group has raised $419,600.

Ride for the Kids was first created by the families of Sarah Reiss of Dubuque and Matthew Wessels of Zwingle, Iowa. Reiss was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in May 2008. She died in September 2010 at the age of 22. Wessels, 4, was born with a heart defect that has caused him to undgo three open-heart surgeries.

Five years have passed, and the organization still holds the annual event to support pediatric brain tumor research and pediatric cardiology research in the UI Pediatrics Department.

Mark Reiss, event organizer and father of Sarah Reiss, said he wanted to give back to the hospital that has helped his family.

“After experiencing firsthand the outstanding knowledge, care, and compassion from everyone at UI Children’s Hospital, we knew we wanted to find a way to give back and help fund these research programs,” Reiss said. “We don't want other families to have to go through what we are. It’s personal. We need cures.”

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