Helmet Heads Canada, a group of motorcyclists who wear Muppet-like covers on top of their helmets, are asking for donations for hundreds of children and families at Victoria General Hospital.
Helmet Heads organizer Scott Ferron said he was inspired to give back by his family’s experience when he was admitted to the hospital as an infant.
The Helmet Heads will have about 50 motorcycles escorting Santa down Government Street starting at 5 p.m. on Nov. 30 during the Island Farms Santa’s Light Parade, after which they’ll collect donations in Centennial Square. On Dec. 1, the Helmet Heads ride again in the Sidney Sparkles Christmas Parade also starting at 5 p.m., and will collect donations at the end of the parade route.
Ferron said the donations will go to children and their families throughout various pediatrics areas of Victoria General Hospital. Donations will also go to Ledger House at Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health, and Jeneece Place (a temporary home away from home for children and families receiving care at VGH or Ledger House).
Ferron said all donations must be new. For infants, they’re asking for rattles, teething toys and toys that light up or play music. For preschoolers, they’re asking for items such as doctor kits, Duplo blocks, sorting toys, books, small cars/trucks and colouring books. For school-aged kids Lego is always a winner, plus craft kits, art supplies, puzzles, nail polish, books, headphones and the like.
Ferron said he has “intimate knowledge” of what his mother, father and older sister went through while he was hospitalized as a six-month-old. “Many families endure so much hardship throughout their child’s admittance at the hospital. We should help out to make sure they do not have to worry about food and toys while they are stuck in their recovery room for days and weeks,” Ferron said.
Ferron is also asking for donations for parents. He said it can get expensive for parents to feed themselves or get a coffee while they wait in the hospital for their child. He said good donations for parents include stock for the kitchen (such as sugar, snacks and tea) or gift cards for Tim Hortons, Starbucks and other outlets.
Donation-gathering is something Ferron has been doing for two years now. This is his second Christmas drive, but he does not just donate to VGH at Christmas. Ferron collects donations year-round for the hospital, also making donations before Halloween as well as in May this year. “Now that I have a better understanding of what my family went through when I was young, I can do more than I was capable of then,” Ferron said.
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