You think of motorcyclists as a bunch of bad asses.

But for the past 26 years, a group of them in Western New Jersey have launched a fundraiser to help kids with serious disorders and catastrophic illnesses.

Called “Gooch’s Garlic Run”, the group holds the event on the second Wednesday of June to raise money to help fund medical expenses for underprivileged children who are ill.

The 26th annual Gooch’s Garlic Run, a 30-mile ride to raise money to help local children with serious physical disorders and catastrophic illnesses, is scheduled this evening.

The event is organized by members of the Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, New Jersey Chapter IX. About 2,000 motorcyclists are expected to participate in the event that begins at the Rockaway Townsqare Mall.

On-site registration begins at 4:30 p.m., and the ride gets under way at 6:30 p.m. A full police escort will accompany the motorcyclists, who will depart from the parking lot at Rockaway Townsquare, located at Route 80 and Mount Hope Avenue, travel along Routes 80 and 280 to McCarter Highway/Route 21 and finally culminate at Ferry Street in the Ironbound section of Newark.

Proceeds from this year’s ride will benefit the following recipients, according to a press release about the event:

Ian Michael Burke, 14, of Hamburg, who at 3½ months old was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder caused by abnormalities in the parts of the brain that control body movement and muscle coordination. His parents are Leigh-Ann and Eric, and he has an 11-year-old sister, Sarah.

Tyara Lopez, 14, of Newark, who has Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer that starts in the lymphocytes, or white blood cells, that are part of the body’s immune system. She lives with her mother and father, Elvira and Manny, brother Manny, 20, and sister Mia, 9.

Dromique Douglas Mann, 14, of Ringwood, who suffers from mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma, a type of cancer found in the cells in mucosal tissue that are involved in antibody production, and also common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), an immune system disorder that makes it difficult to fight off infections. His parents are Renee and Elmer, and he has a 7-year-old brother, Ayden.

Peyton Jude Zietelli, 2, of Boonton, who has a rare form of cancer that develops in the soft muscle tissue. He has two sisters – Taylor, 10, and Averi, 7 – and his parents are Michelle and Matthew.

Tell me these guys don’t have a heart! Makes me want to cry thinking of these kids, and how these guys step up to help them.

The run was named for retired Andover Township Police Lieutenant Al “Gooch” Monaco; and for a number of years, the run would end in Little Italy in Lower Manhattan.
However for some unexplained reason, the residents started complaining of the noise and the organizers chose to terminate in the Ironbound.

(Weird since the old timers in Little Italy have had to put up with noise from trucks barreling down Canal St. from the Manhattan Bridge to the Holland Tunnel. Must be those damn yuppies.)

Just as well it ends in Newark.

Keepin’ it real, Jersey Style!

Since it kicks off tonight, there isn’t much time. But if you’d like to make a donation, you can do so in care of Al “Gooch” Monaco, 819 Limecrest Road, Newton, NJ 07860.
(Checks should be made payable to “Blue Knights NJ IX.”)