Long running toy run canceled

UNIVERSITY CITY - October 26, 2011

UPDATE: Canceled toy run may see a miracle

"It was a rush for me to know I was taking the pain away from a child for at least five minutes by bringing them that toy," Mark Schultz of the Delaware Valley Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education (A.B.A.T.E.) said.

Now CHOP is saying thanks, but no thanks to the Delaware Valley chapter of A.B.A.T.E. which has been doing a toy run for the hospital for three decades.

The event typically happens the first Sunday in November.

But Children's Hospital says too many riders and too many toys for the 500 bed facility have become too much.

"They're smart people up there making big dollars, they ought to know that they could've kept this and could've have arranged it a different way," Schultz said.

Last year, thousand riders made their way through the streets of Philadelphia to make their donations. CHOP says there were so many toys, it felt more like a toy distributor than a hospital.

That's because the hospital was using space to store the toys and giving the surplus to surrounding organizations.

A spokesman says CHOP has appreciated the charitable work, but it just doesn't have the staff to handle the large event.

A.B.A.T.E.'s Denny Waldman started the toy run.

"When we pull up to this hospital and you look up into that atrium from the outside of the building, from the inside of the building and you see nothing, but tears streaming down faces, there's no replacing that," Waldman said.

He says the city will also lose money when tens of thousands of bikers who come from all over are not spending money at local businesses.

"I don't think they have the forethought when they made the decision to kill the toy run so to speak," Waldman said.

The hospital says people can make cash donations to its Child Life Program where staff can pick out appropriate toys for patients.

Delaware Valley A.B.A.T.E. says it's still trying to work things out with CHOP and next year it's hoping to start up the toy run again.

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