The 2nd Annual RIDE FOR RONNIE Motorcycle Ride and Concert, held on Sunday, May 22nd, raised $50,000 for the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund (www.diocancerfund.org). Some 1000 people participated in the day's events, including 300 motorcycle riders who made their way from Harley Davidson in Glendale to an afternoon of live entertainment at Los Encinos Park in Encino, California.
Joining the RIDE were "Sons of Anarchy" cast members Emilio Rivera, Michael Beach, Star Fields and actor-musician Sean McNabb as well actor Al Coronel ("The Last Ship") and musicians Lita Ford, EJ Curse, Taime Downs and Gilby Clarke. Wendy Dio, Ronnie James Dio's widow and co-founder of the Dio Cancer Fund, welcomed everyone before joining SUAS board member Scott Sentinella on his motorcycle for the 20-mile ride to the Park. Also riding was "Boston" Tom Foresteire on the "Holy Diver" Harley-Davidson motorcycle he won at the recent Street Party that launched this year's RIDE. The one-of-a-kind motorcycle is custom-painted with the illustration from the cover of Ronnie James Dio's iconic "Holy Diver" album.
The afternoon's entertainment kicked off with Doctors of the Earth as the procession of motorcycles arrived at the Park. They were followed by sets from Sonia Harley, Budderside, Gabbie Rae, Dio Disciples, Lita Ford and headliners Great White. The festivities were hosted by DJ Will.
Wendy Dio and SUAS Medical Director Dr. Sandy Kapoor presented a check for $25,000 to Dr. David Wong, Director of the Dental Research Institute at the University of California Los Angeles to further his research into a saliva test for the early detection of cancer. Dr. Wong believes this simple, non-invasive test will be available for medical use within the next three years.
Assorted merchandise, a jumble sale booth, a silent auction and a raffle for a special limited edition ASG Vision Motörhead white-body guitar with the "Ace of Spades" graphic raised additional funds as did live auctions conducted by SUAS board members Adam Parsons and Danny Zelisko between performances. Among the live auction items were a B.C. Rich guitar signed by Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), King Diamond and Geoff Tate, a custom-made leather "Kutte" motorcycle vest with a set of specially-embroidered Dio Cancer Fund patches and an ESP guitar signed by all of the event's performers.
The "Sons of Anarchy" cast members as well as Great White, Lita Ford and Dio Disciples signed autographs at special "Meet and Greets" during the afternoon. Rocker Gabbie Rae hosted a Meet & Greet following her set to promote Free2Luv (http://www.free2luv.org), the Anti-Bullying initiative for which she is a spokesperson.
Additional RIDE FOR RONNIE sponsors that helped to make this year's event possible include Harley-Davidson of Glendale, Bigg Time Entertainment, Production Resource Group (PRG), Law Tigers, Mates Studios, Clair Global Audio, Western Bagel and Starbucks (San Fernando Road, Glendale), among others.
100% of the net proceeds from the RIDE FOR RONNIE will go to the Dio Cancer Fund (www.diocancerfund.org).
The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund was formed in memory of the legendary rock singer Ronnie James Dio, who lost his life to gastric cancer in 2010. A privately funded 501(c)(3) charity organization dedicated to cancer prevention, research and education, the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund has already raised over $1 million in its short history. Monies raised have been committed to the cancer research work of the T. J. Martell Foundation for Cancer, AIDS and Leukemia Research, the gastric cancer research unit of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where Ronnie was treated for gastric cancer during the last six months of his life, and other cancer research projects. The recent passing of several high profile musicians to cancer has served to reinforce the commitment of the Dio Cancer Fund to support research and education that furthers early detection, prevention and treatment of prostate, colon and gastric cancers.