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Harley Davidson community gathers to support Sunnycrest LTC residents
In July 2018, the Durham Chapter of the Harley Davidson Owners Group gathered at Sunnycrest for its 7th year in a row to support residents with an evening of motorcycles, fun and entertainment.
“This idea was brought forward by Neil Crowder,” explains Sunnycrest’s Director of Life Enrichment, Emily Viray. “His mom used to live at Sunnycrest and although she has now passed, he remains actively involved in the home.”
Crowder typically gives back by sponsoring gifts for some of the home’s residents
around the holidays, but being an avid motorcyclist and member of the Harley Davidson Owners Group in Durham, the idea dawned on him several years ago to bring the two communities together, as a way to do more than just his annual holiday gifts.
“I was just thinking about how fun it would be for the residents to interact with the bikers, and vice versa,” says Crowder. “There’s a lot of stereotypes out there about bikers and I think long-term care residents can somewhat relate because of the ageism they may face. There’s so much that can be learned when we just get people together to talk and share.”
Working with Viray and Chantal Cullum, another member of the Life Enrichment team, this year Crowder was able to encourage 18 of his fellow bikers to ride over to the home for an evening with the residents.
“We love this event and our residents always look forward to it,” says Viray. “Some of our residents even used to ride, so you just see their faces light up when the bikes approach, roaring. And the interactions between the residents and bikers, as usual, are just lovely.”
It was a special evening for one lucky resident. Wendy Thrower, who has had a life-long wish of riding a motorcycle, found her wish granted. Andre Mazerolle, whose father also lives at Sunnycrest, was pleased to be able to have her on his bike and see how happy it made her.
Sunnycrest plans to make the event even bigger and better for 2019, creating an entire “Harley Davidson Festival” for residents, staff and the community to enjoy.
In photos, top to bottom: Sunnycrest resident Dave poses with his son Andre, and one of Sunnycrest’s volunteers, Kumar; Wendy gets her wish fulfilled, getting a seat on Andre’s motorcycle; residents, staff and community members gather together to commemorate a great evening.