Ride for Autism 2015: The Stars Come Out for Autism

By RT; Photos- RT, Tomas & Perla Lazalde, & RFA staff

05-IMG_6113bAugust 1st was the 8th Annual Ride for Autism to benefit the organizations that work so hard to find a cure for this disorder and help those affected by it. It’s one of the selected rides & causes that is heartily supported by Laidlaw’s Harley-Davidson in Baldwin Park, CA where the ride starts (just east of where the 605 and the I-10 freeways meet). So riders converged here for the hosted continental breakfast and mingling, last minute registrations are done, and dealership patriarch Bob Laidlaw stationed himself right inside the front door greeting all in person.

As hundreds of bikes rolled into Laidlaw’s parking lot, volunteers from the Society of Riders MC directed riders, keeping everything organized and shiny side up.

Co-Founders Doug Marrone and Anthony de la Rosa greeted the crowd, and we had patriotic ceremonies.   Then actor and reality television star Dean McDermott greeted the gathered crowd. Dean has been involved for all 8 years of Ride for Autism; this year he was again the Grand Marshal and soon would lead the ride out on his own bike, along with the motorcycle escort officers.

Dean appeared with a very close haircut we would ask him about later, and he read to the crowd from a sheet of paper a few facts about the Ride for Autism:

  • What is Los Angeles Ride for Autism? We are 100% volunteer group dedicated to raising funds benefiting non-profit entities that are directly involved with the Autism Spectrum Disorder, by organizing motorcycle fun rides in the Los Angeles area.
  • Our first Los Angeles Autism Ride was in 2005.
  • Incorporated and became a 501(c) 3 organization in the city of Pico Rivera in December 2008.
  • Started with three board members: Anthony de la Rosa, Pat de la Rosa and Doug Marrone. Pat and Anthony are parents of Brissa, a 19 year old girl with Autism. Doug is an avid motorcyclist and passionate about this cause.
  • Ride For Autism has grown from 80 riders starting in 2005 to over 550 riders and 900+ attendees in total by 2015.
  • The ride is a motor escorted ride.
  • One of our mission goals is to give 95% of every dollar donated back to the cause. We average about 92%, due to our initial yearly costs. Many charities find success with 40 to 50% going to their cause.
  • Our fundraising efforts have generated over $400,000 on behalf of Autism in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.
  • For the 8th year, the ride will open registration at 9am at Laidlaw’s Harley Davidson in Baldwin Park. A continental breakfast is available at the start; and a buffet lunch and a raffle will be held for all attendees at the end of the route.

And– it takes a LOT of Volunteers and they are a dedicated group of wonderful people, to make the Ride for Autism happen.

17-IMG_6245bThe party at the end of the scenic route this year was at Original Mike’s in Santa Ana. Emmy and Golden Globe nominee, and star of hit TV Shows Northern Exposure & Numb3rs Rob Morrow, performed with the band Angel City Devils for a very happy crowd! Great food and great music, raffles, socializing, chrome comparisons, silent auction and plenty of fundraising. Angel City Devils has played also at prior years Ride for Autism after party.

To all of us seasoned riders who’ve been to and supported many charity events over the years we appreciate that this is a really worthy well run event that you see directly where your dollars are going, since you can meet the specific beneficiary organizations right there. It’s these unique beneficiaries of each event however, who are blown away by what is accomplished through the motorcycle riding community. The main groups benefiting from this year’s Ride, with displays & info available were:

Check out their websites for more on what they do- and we hope that if you or anyone you know has need of a resource for autism that you consult the above and/or contact these groups for more info. We hope this info helps.

22-IMG_6341bWe sat down for a few minutes with Dean McDermott to get his take on things. Back in 2013 he and his beautiful wife, actress Tori Spelling, had just welcomed their new son Finn, who Dean says is growing like a weed. I asked him about the resistance to vaccines by many including his friend Jenny McCarthy, who believe that vaccines cause autism.

Some research suggests that the vaccines given all at once may overload the child’s system, so Dean says, “We’ve chosen to spread them out; we do believe that many of these vaccines do cause problems such as autism from the research that my wife and I have done,” so they’re having them administered weeks or months apart, to avoid this overload of chemicals into a little kid all at once. Then Dean says they watch closely for any adverse reaction even so, and thus far all seems to be OK. “But this disorder needs a lot more attention and research, because we can and will find a cure. Slow and steady wins the race. Keep doing research and eventually we can win.”

I asked, “What’s up with this close cropped haircut?” He explained, he’s acting in a new TV series, called “Chiller”, about a slasher in a small town where Dean plays the Chief of Police. So he is in character with the haircut. The series is being filmed in a small remote town, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. It’s SO remote that Dean almost missed his 5 hour flight to LA to attend Ride for Autism!

This year there were 195 riders pre-registered and over 550 came the day of the Ride. Around $20,000 was raised in this one day! Ride For Autism thanks Laidlaw’s Harley-Davidson that hosts the starting point, Original Mike’s, the many Volunteers—and — you riders, without whom the Ride For Autism could not happen! Sign up early for 2016 at www.rideforautism.org and see you out there next year!