On Sunday, hundreds of motorcycle riders hit the road to ride, rock and make a difference in Connecticut. The bikers traveled from Ellington, Bristol and Massachusetts to Stafford Springs in support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and its 4th annual MDA benefit ride and concert, presented by Trantolo and Trantolo.
“It's heartwarming, it's very heartwarming. This is a struggle, it is something we deal with every single day, but to see everybody here and having a great time it makes it a wonderful day,” said Melanie Ballestas.
Ballestas’ 8-year-old son, Louis, suffers from a form of muscular dystrophy. The benefit ride to the Sun Valley Resort in Stafford Springs helped raise money for life-saving research in the 43 neuromuscular diseases under the MDA umbrella and helps send children to the MDA Summer Camp.
“It's really amazing because in your everyday life you don't really see that people care, but when you are here and you see a swarm of motorcycles around it's really great because you actually know that people care about you and other people like you,” said Marley Robison, one of the MDA Ambassadors.
Sunday’s ride was Connecticut’s largest one-day charity motorcycle ride and was followed by a concert featuring “38 Special” and “Cold Train.”
“It's a great time for a good cause,” said Keith Trantolo, the owner, and operator of Trantolo and Trantolo.
Trantolo and Trantolo have spent the past few years helping put on the charity ride and concert. They said in three years it has raised more than half a million dollars for the 1,400 families served by MDA Connecticut. Organizers expected Sunday’s event to bring in even more money and make a big difference in many people’s lives, including the kids who will be able to attend MDA Summer Camp.
“It also puts these kids, gives them an opportunity to go to a camp, which is specialized for those who suffer from muscular dystrophy. It's awesome, they get to have a great time. They play with other kids that have muscular dystrophy and really if you talk to them, it's the only time of year they get to go outside without fear and kind of play with kids who are just like them, it's great,” said Keith Trantolo.
While the concert, food and raffle prizes were a big hit on Sunday, it was the MDA Ambassadors that stole the show.
“Thank you for riding your motorcycles today and supporting the MDA,” said 8-year-old Louis Ballestas.
The day of giving back truly gave so much in return.