AUGUSTA — A motorcycle run today will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine.

The run — hosted by Augusta Eagles Aerie 3137 and Maine Motorcycle Riders — is an effort to raise money for a group that grants wishes to children with life-threatening conditions.

Event co-chairwomen Rhonda Carver and Tammie Willett created the event three years ago. It eventually became a family affair for Carver after her children became involved. Ryan and Jennifer Carver are in charge of donations.

Carver’s reason for getting involved with raising money for Make-A-Wish is simple. “The kids. It’s a good cause,” she said.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine was established in 1992 to provide children and their families with “a worry-free experience” requested by the child. To date, more than 950 wishes have been granted to Maine children — one wish per week on average, according to the foundation.

The foundation expects to grant more than 75 wishes this year to seriously ill children in Maine. All money raised during the run will be donated to a Make-A-Wish family in Maine.

The past three runs have brought in $29,000, enough to grant five wishes.

Carver said that although the economy is tight, she’s hoping today’s run will bring in at least $6,000 — which is the average cost of one wish, including travel and spending money.

“I am hoping that we can at least do one child,” she said. “We are hoping to meet that.”

Many of the same people attend the run each year, Carver said.

“Without the motorcyclists and their help, we wouldn’t be able to do this,” Carver said.

Registration for the event is at the Eagles Club, 71 Water St., 8:30 to 9:30 this morning.

A Make-A-Wish family will see bikers off at 9:30 a.m. from the club, and the bikers will travel through Gardiner and Lewiston to the Livermore-Turner line, then ride to Skowhegan before returning to Augusta at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Upon return, a live band, Cold Blue Steel, will perform at the club until 7:30 p.m. There will also be a barbecue with a donation of $6 per person. Riders with a pledge sheet eat free. Other activities include 50/50 drawings and raffles of gift cards and giveaways donated by local businesses.

Money may be turned in with a pledge sheet at the end of the run. Pledge sheets are available at the Eagles Club. Attendees without pledge sheets may write in names of donors with the donation at the end of the run. Donations can be for any amount and supporters do not need to ride in order to participate.

As part of the fundraiser, Lisa’s Restaurant will offer breakfast beginning at 6:30 a.m., with a percentage of the sales going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“It’s a great cause. It’s helping children in the area,” said owner Lisa Wardwell said.

Amanda Thompson is a Kennebec Journal correspondent who lives in Augusta.

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