ERIE, Colo. — Early every summer, the roar of motorcycle engines can be heard over northern Colorado as hundreds of bikers take part in the Frank’s Ride poker run.
During the poker run, motorcyclists go along a pre-set route stopping at various locations along the way to pick up a playing card. At the end of the run, the best poker hands win prizes — not to mention bragging rights for the year.
The ride is also a fundraiser. Over the last 35 years, the Frank’s Ride poker run has raised more than $800,000 to help Make-A-Wish Colorado achieve its mission of creating life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.
Tracy Perry has been volunteering with Make-A-Wish for most of that time and represents Make-A-Wish on the committee that plans Frank’s Ride every year. He got started more than 30 years ago after reading an article about the very first wish granted by Make-A-Wish.
“When I got done reading that article, I thought, ‘I have to work for this organization,’” Perry said.
In the years since he made that call, Perry said he and his wife have helped grant more than 160 wishes.
“There’s a lot of research going on about how much good a wish does for a child with a life-threatening illness,” he said. “They get away from doctors and nurses and shots and all the painful stuff and enjoy themselves for weeks sometimes.”
Patti Forsythe is now the event director for Make-A-Wish Colorado. She remembers meeting Perry after he first called offering to help.
“Immediately, his sensitivity and compassion and love for kids came through,” she said, adding that acting as the liaison with Frank’s Ride is only one of the many things Perry does for the organization. “His main [job] is interviewing the Wish Kids to see what their wishes are going to be. He puts his heart and soul into that.”
- Learn how you can help Make-A-Wish Colorado by volunteering or donating..
One of the first kids Perry interviewed 30 years ago was Priscilla Dodsworth. Her wish was for a family trip to Walt Disney World. She said the trip was a big part of keeping a positive outlook in her fight against leukemia. One of the things she looks forward to now are the yearly calls from Perry on her birthday.
“I think he's really special," Dodsworth said. "He gives so much to other people without getting anything in return."
Along with his wife, Lois, Perry's contributions to Make-A-Wish Colorado over the past three decades have been invaluable. Everyone who works with them said it’s clear he’s acting purely from his heart.
“He just loves kids,” Forsythe said. “He loves to put a smile on their face and that smile is the biggest reward he will ever get.”
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