KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — The second annual Patrick’s Pals Motorcycle Benefit Run, held in honor of the young boy whose picture with a bald former President George H.W. Bush stole hearts across the country last summer, will take place this weekend.
The image of Bush and then 2-year-old Patrick, whose dad is a member of the president’s Secret Service detail, went viral last summer. The president shaved his head in support of Patrick, who is battling leukemia.
Last summer, Secret Service members launched www.patrickspals.org and organized the inaugural motorcycle run to benefit the family, whose last name has been withheld at their request, with more than 100 motorcycles riding and hundreds more gathering in support. This year, the event is back — Saturday, Aug. 9 — and will benefit Camp Sunshine, Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital and Maine Children’s Cancer Program.
“All of the money that comes in from the ride is staying here in Maine,” said Patrick’s mother, Alex. “Last year, it was an odd thing because everybody was trying to help us out. This year, knowing that we’re giving 100 percent back to Maine is a good feeling.”
A bake sale also will be held to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand, an organization that raises money and awareness of childhood cancer causes, primarily research into new treatments and cures, and encourages and empowers others, especially children, to get involved and make a difference for children with cancer.
“They are the most phenomenal organization,” Alex said.
The 50-mile motorcycle ride will travel along the ocean and through the countryside, Alex said, with lunch and entertainment after at the American Legion Hall.
As for Patrick, his mother said he’s “doing great.”
“Looking at his hair, it’s beautiful. And he’s grown, and looking at him you would never know in a million year’s what he’s gone through,” she said.
After his diagnosis last summer, Patrick went into the most intense part of his treatment, called front-line therapy, and having been diagnosed with very high-risk leukemia, he endured almost double the amount of intense chemotherapy that low or standard risk treatment protocols require, his parents said in a post at www.patrickspals.org.
“Although there have been some unanticipated bumps in the road, and although he has experienced the anticipated side effects from the chemotherapy, he has, overall, done very well with his treatment thus far. We hope to enter the maintenance phase of treatment, which is far less intense, at some point in early summer,” the June post reads. “Despite the fact that the intensity of the treatment eases during maintenance therapy, there is still a long road ahead.”
Patrick’s end of treatment date is October 2016.
“It’s a long haul,” Alex said.