30 Apr
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10 Year Anniversary for Bikers Against Breast Cancer Event

For more than 30 years, Dixie Melillo, Medical Director and Co-Founder of The Rose, has been a driving force of breast cancer awareness and treatment for all women, regardless of their ability to pay. Over the last decade, she’s ridden a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to support that cause. The Bikers Against Breast Cancer (BABC) annual Mother’s Day weekend ride benefitting The Rose, Southeast Texas’ leader in breast health care, will take place Saturday, May 12, 2018, starting at San Jacinto Harley-Davidson (3636 E Sam Houston Parkway S. in Pasadena). Bikers will arrive at 8:30 a.m., with “kickstands up” at 10:30 a.m. for the 60-mile ride.

Founded a decade ago by a group of friends looking for a new way to support the work of The Rose, the event has raised more than $344,500. Additionally, a committed community of volunteers continues to secure auction items, promote the ride at various pre-event activities, ensure the stage is set the day of the ride, register each rider and restore the San Jacinto parking lot after the last bike leaves.

BABC founder D’Etta Casto DeLeon led the committee for six years and continues to ride and support other events of The Rose. She and members of that initial committee — Kristi Brown Okwuonu, D’Etta Casto-DeLeon, Sharon Stafford, Desari Salinas, Karen Rigby, Carrie Swatsell, Jennifer Paraya, and Brahana Marksberry will be recognized during this year’s ride.

“Looking back on that fateful moment where the stars aligned and a small group of motorcycle-obsessed people bonded over our passion for The Rose’s mission, I’m amazed by how far we’ve come,” said Charles Christy, Chair of Bikers Against Breast Cancer. “Chairing this event has been a privilege as I witness again and again the countless number of people in my life that have been affected by breast cancer and the good that our community of bikers can do together for all women in our community; our daughters, sisters, mothers and friends.”

To mark the 10th anniversary of the event that now attracts nearly 500 riders, social media followers of The Rose and BABC are learning “10 Things You Didn’t Know about Dixie.” While longtime supporters are already aware that the Co-Founder of The Rose — with CEO Dorothy Gibbons — is a respected physician with an infectious laugh and gentle but straight-talking bedside manner drenched in a Texas drawl, others may not be aware of lesser-known facts, such as that she is an avid biker.

A Harley-owner who now rides with husband Todd, Melillo lists the attraction of the BABC route with familiarity and excitement. “Being able to ride for hours, to go across the Fred Hartman Bridge in all its magnificence, is a beautiful ride,” she says. “It took me a while to get used to the police sirens and running a red light!”

This freedom is made possible due to the focused attention of the Pasadena Police Department, who lead the way and take up the rear of the parade of motorcycles. Warriors Bikers 4 Charity, a motorcycle club, continues their longstanding commitment to serving as the road guards along the route.

The event includes live and silent auctions, music and food trucks for guest of all ages. Supporters can choose to become a sponsor, form a team to ride, create an individualized fundraising page, donate to the silent auction or, for those who don’t ride motorcycles, provide support with a financial gift.

Support options are $40 for riders (all bikes welcome), $40 ghost rider (those who do not ride but want to support the event and receive the BABC packet) and $10 for passengers. Funds raised through the ride will support The Rose and their annual programming. The Rose provides access to treatment and screenings to more than 40,000 women every year, regardless of insurance or ability to pay.

Dorothy Gibbons, The Rose’s CEO and Co-Founder, notes that the ride has earned a reputation for being a well-organized and safe event. But the trust goes even further. “This ride captures the very spirit of what we do at The Rose, which is the main reason it’s so beloved by our supporters,” she explains. “When you’re surrounded by dozens of motorcycles riding toward a shared purpose, the electric energy of that bond becomes even more meaningful knowing the funds raised are used directly to help local women.”

Sponsors for 2018 include US Development and San Jacinto Harley Davidson. Potential sponsors interested in sponsoring the event can click here for a sponsorship form or email events@therose.org.

If recognizing ten years of supporting a great cause doesn’t convince the public to come out on Saturday, May 12, 2018, Dr. Melillo offers additional incentives. “Come see this old woman ride a Harley Davidson and have fun!”

To learn more about The Rose, please visit www.therose.org. To view photos from last year’s ride, click here. To schedule an interview with Dorothy Gibbons, CEO and Co-Founder of The Rose, please contact Ashley Small at 281-827-3419 or ashley@medley-inc.com.2018 B

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