SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — The 4th Annual #DStrong Bike Run took place Sunday afternoon in Smithfield.
The event is to honor 8-year-old Dorian Murray, who lost his courageous battle with cancer in 2016, and to bring awareness about pediatric cancer.
Eyewitness News spoke with Dorian’s father Christopher at the inaugural bike run in July 2016.
“He was definitely into motorcycles, cars, anything loud and fast,” he said. “I know he’s watching us and he’s wishing he’s here and we’re wishing he’s here too.”
Bikers left from The Last Resort Pub & Grill in Smithfield at noon and returned an hour later, followed by a barbecue, raffle and live music performance.
The event cost $25 per rider and $10 for passengers. All proceeds will benefit the Dorian J. Murray Foundation.
It’s estimated by Melissa Murray, Dorian’s mom, that over 300 motorcycles were in the parking lot moments before the run took off.
“Oh, I love it! The support that we get every year and hearing the bikes come in, it’s heartwarming,” Melissa Murray said. “When Dorian was young Chris would take Dorian on his bike. He loved being on the back of the bike with his dad.”
Many might not know of this, but, the idea to do this bike run was from someone outside of Murray’s inner circle – a total stranger who is now a beloved friend of the family.
“This originally started with a friend who passed away and we did a bike run for her,” Jennifer Crane said. “Then the second year, for her anniversary, we said you know what let’s do this for a charity.”
Dorian’s story was followed by people from all around the world. After hearing his story, Crane and her husband Joel knew they had to step up.
The Da Silva family of Cumberland was also at the event.
They too know what it is like to have a child with pediatric cancer. Their son Dillon is a survivor.
“He is going to be 4-years-old next month,” Leane Da Silva, Dillon’s mom, said.
“He is one year cancer-free. Anything that has to do with childhood cancer, we are always there. We did reach out to Melissa because we have these shirts of Dillon. We wanted to support, but, we wanted to make sure it was ok,” Leane Da Silva said.
Melissa Murray says they hope to raise $16,000 from the bike run.
“We support families who are dealing with a pediatric cancer diagnosis. And really it’s financial help with whatever it is they need,” Melissa Murray said. “Their mortgage payment, their car payment, their rent payment. You know, if their kid needs some special therapy. We help them with those bills.”
Anyone who can’t afford to donate to the foundation is welcome to donate blood instead, according to Melissa Murray.
“Donating blood is a huge factor in pediatric cancer, it saved Dorian’s life multiple times,” she said. “He had over 150-platelet and blood donations. It’s so important and critical and it’s a financially free way to donate. It’s only an hour of your time.”
The foundation is also hoping the state will distribute “Knockout Pediatric Cancer” license plates. Melissa Murray said the DMV requires 900 pre-registrations. As of Sunday, only 500 have pre-registered.