Teddy bear

A giant teddy bear is presented to a baby at Olean General Hospital in July 2019, made possible by that year’s Big Bear Hug Dice Run by the Allegany Legion Riders Post 892. “This is what it’s all about! Why we do what we do!” states a post on the Riders’ Facebook page.

ALLEGANY — Members of the Allegany Legion Riders Post 892 and their friends will once again be rev up their motorcycles to help Olean General Hospital’s Pediatric Unit.

Organizers said the fourth annual Big Bear Hug Dice Run will be held beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Allegany Legion at 4350 Route 417, where the day’s activities will begin and end. Registration for the 120-mile, five-stop, dice run starts at 10 a.m. with kickstands up at noon.

Rev. Jim Vacco will provide a blessing of the bikes at 11 a.m. and the Allegany Fire Department will see the riders off at noon. The riders will head out to the Little Valley VFW for their first stop. All are welcome to join the fun, including motorcycles, Jeeps and other vehicles.

Upon return to the Allegany Legion, participants will be greeted with music by DJ Paul Sawaya and dinner prepared by the Legion Riders.

Participants are also asked to bring a new stuffed teddy bear, or other new, unused stuffed toys, to be donated to Olean General Hospital. Organizers said the stuffed animal donations bring smiles to the hospital’s youngest patients when they are away from home and family.

In 2020, no stuffed animals were permitted at the hospital, therefore organizers are hopeful that each participant in the dice run will contribute a stuffed animal to replenish Olean General’s supply. Proceeds from the dice run are also contributed by the Legion Riders to the hospital’s pediatric unit. Organizers noted that they hope to have enough donations this year to purchase five car seats for the hospital.

Those who are unable to participate in the run but would like to make a donation of a Big Bear Hug stuffed animal or funs are asked to stop by the Allegany Legion.

In keeping with the giving spirit, organizers said the Legion Riders have purchased gift certificates from local establishments to give away as door prizes.

Generous donations to be auctioned off will include a Cutco hunting knife, a “Rough and Ready” wooden American flag, and a hand-painted Harley Davidson slate. Other donations have also been provided by Arkport and Jamestown Harley Davidson as well as Indian of Erie, Pa., among others.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)

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