What do you tell a 5 year old patient at Phoenix Children’s Hospital when he asks you to cancel an event if he can’t attend? Bob’s Biker Blast is Brendan’s favorite event. Until about a week ago Brendan was in the hospital. His mission was to get better so he could be on hand and on stage at The Fourth Annual Bob’s Biker Blast, an event named after entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Parsons.
During Brendan’s stay he had many visits from Shelley Martin, Special Events Coordinator at the world’s Largest Harley-Davidson dealership in Scottsdale. “Brendan is a life changer. He makes a difference to everyone he meets. His fun positive attitude is infectious and is beautiful to watch. When times are tough for Brendan and he has to spend time in PCH, we rally around Brendan to give him positive energy to keep fighting,” Martin said. “Being the Event Coordinator at Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale (HDOS) has opened so many doors for me in the way of helping others and I cherish that. Bob’s Biker Blast has grown every year and being a part of that just warms your heart.”
On Saturday, November 7, more than 500 motorcycle enthusiasts and music lovers gathered at Phoenix Children’s Hospital to kick off Bob’s Biker Blast with “I Ride for PCH,” a ride from Phoenix Children’s Hospital to HDOS. School of Rock’s Sugar Skulls performed for the riders and patients. Food and water was generously donated by Arcadia Tavern, Bobby-Q’s, Mojo Yogurt, CVS and Pepsi. At 1:45 p.m. the riders revved their engines and patients from every floor ran to the windows to wave in excitement.
“Looking up at the patients waving from their hospital rooms, knowing I’m making a difference inspires me every year. I think it inspires every rider involved,” said PCH Chief Financial Officer Craig McKnight, who led the ride. “I am humbled by the incredible outpouring of generosity and support from of Bob & Renee Parsons and the motorcycle community.”
This year’s event coincided with the grand opening of Parsons’ new Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale, and also included performance from the Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald. The 150,000 square-foot facility is the largest Harley dealership in the world. This year, Bob Parsons took the stage and pledged that The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation would round out funds raised to make the 4th Annual Bob’s Biker Blast a $1 million event.
And guess who was on hand in an audience of 10,000 people to see it all? Brendan (see photo, below). “We are so blessed to be a part of the fundraising done during this event. Brendan has gained so many amazing male role models who are successful and strong. He also has developed a sense of confidence from being part of this event that serves him well when things aren’t going as well,” said Brendan’s mother Genevieve Davies. “I just appreciate that everyone loves him and supports him — and all of the children at PCH — because for so much of our individual journeys, it gets very lonely. Knowing we matter and can make a difference is amazing.”
“Bob’s Biker Blast is an epic celebration of motorcycling and the riding community, but it’s also about helping those in need,” said entrepreneur and philanthropist, Bob Parsons. “Renee and I believe that every child deserves access to outstanding medical care, and Phoenix Children’s Hospital provides the absolute best in terms of staff, quality care and pediatric specialties.”
Citing their commitment to philanthropy and community support, the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, along with the mayors of Phoenix and Scottsdale, proclaimed November 7, 2015 “Bob and Renee Parsons Day.” The proclamations commemorate the 4th Annual Bob’s Biker Blast and the grand opening of the new Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale.
Last year’s event raised more than $63,000 before The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation matched the results – times five –bringing the total donation to nearly $380,000. With the $1 million gift, this year’s Bob’s Biker Blast broke a PCH record for most funds raised during an event hosted by an outside organization.