Bad weather may have forced us to cancel last year’s ’Hawks, Helmets and Handlebars, but this year the annual bike safety event took place on a beautiful sunshine-filled day.
Hundreds of Jayhawks flocked to the KU Cancer Center’s Westwood campus June 4, with families lining up as early as 8 a.m. for their chance to receive a free bicycle helmet or, in some cases, a donated bicycle. The Greater Kansas City Network, along with Healthy Hawks, held two bicycle donation drives earlier this spring to collect bikes, tricycles and other outdoor play equipment to help families live healthier lifestyles. “We had a great group attend this year’s event, and we helped provide 60 kiddos with new-to-them bikes,” according to Betsy Winetroub, director of Kansas City programs.
’Hawks, Helmets and Handlebars featured a bike safety obstacle course, a meet and greet with the Johnson County Consolidated Fire Department #2, a live radio remote by 99.7 The Point, and of course an appearance by everyone’s favorite mascot, Baby Jay. The first 150 kids also received a complimentary bike helmet, and all participants received a special certificate signed by Baby Jay.
“It was amazing to see the kids excited to get their ‘new’ bikes,” said Jessica Nelson, community awareness chair for the alumni network. “Everyone loved the bike safety course, climbing on the fire truck, and meeting Baby Jay.”
The Greater Kansas City Alumni Network of the KU Alumni Association and Healthy Hawks of the KU Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics will collect bicycles from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 7, in the Jayhawk Central parking lot of the KU Edwards Campus, 12600 Quivira Road. Area residents can donate working new or used bicycles, tricycles and other outdoor play equipment.
Alumni volunteers and KU staff members will collect the bicycles and tricycles in preparation for the annual ’Hawks, Helmets and Handlebars event on Saturday, June 4, at the KU Cancer Center’s Westwood Campus. ’Hawks, Helmets and Handlebars provides helmets and bicycles to children in need and stresses the importance of healthy lifestyle and bicycle safety.
The KU Alumni Association and the KU Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics host the event. Hospital Heroes and the Concussion and Trauma teams from the Medical Center will professionally fit children with helmets June 4, and the Johnson County Fire Department will be on hand to educate families about fire safety and set up a bicycle safety obstacle course. Baby Jay will sign certificates for all children who attend.
Early morning rain didn’t dampen the spirits of Kansas City area alumni, who were on hand June 6 to distribute bicycles and helmets during the eighth-annual ’Hawks, Helmet and Handlebars event at the KU Cancer Center’s Westwood Campus. The popular event, which pairs the Alumni Association with Healthy Hawks, a program created by KU Medical Center’s department of pediatrics to help children and their families overcome issues related to weight, helps provide children in need with bicycles and the proper gear to ride safely.
Despite the fact that some of the planned activities, including a bicycle obstacle course, had to be canceled because of the weather, KU and Association staff and Kansas City Network alumni volunteers still gave away 52 bikes and more than 75 helmets during the event. Additionally, each child who received a helmet was properly fitted for it, thanks to KU Hospital Heroes.
“Although the weather didn’t cooperate, our families certainly did and we gave away a bunch of bikes and helmets,” says Ann McGrath Davis, c’91, g’08, director of Healthy Hawks and the Center for Children’s Healthy Lifestyles and Nutrition at KU pediatrics.
Our popular summer event in Kansas City, ’Hawks, Helmets and Handlebars, was held last weekend at the KU Cancer Center’s Westwood Campus.
Despite having to be rescheduled—it was originally planned for the first weekend in June, but early-morning rains caused a change to the calendar—the event was a great success.
Children picked up complimentary bike helmets and had the opportunity to ride their bikes through a bicycle safety obstacle course, meet and take pictures with Big Jay, and even climb on a fire truck! Many thanks to the Johnson County Consolidated Fire Department #2 for providing a fire truck at the event.
“The weather was just gorgeous and we could not have asked for a better morning!” said Betsy Winetroub, director of Kansas City programs. “It was a rare opportunity for the Greater Kansas City Alumni Chapter to reach a wider audience.”
Prior to the event, the alumni chapter partnered with the Healthy Hawks program at the KU Medical center to host two bicycle donation drives. As a result, 95 bikes were distributed to needy children and their families. Healthy Hawks was founded in 2004 to help children and their families overcome weight-related issues.
“We hope that we were able to leave a positive KU impression on the Healthy Hawks families, and maybe—someday—those kids will attend KU!”
Check out our Storify below—a compilation of tweets and Instagram posts from the event. Thanks to chapter volunteers John Holt, j’81, l’84, and Jessica Nelson, j’11, for sharing the event through social media.
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