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  • Tue September 11 2007
  • Posted Sep 11, 2007
'This is really special' By Rob Daniel Iowa City Press-Citizen The cyclists carried on through sun, wind and rain, all to help out the Children's Miracle Network. For Mike Rehmer, a merchandise manager with Ace Hardware in Oak Brook, Ill., it was all worth it. "It was such a gratifying experience the first time," he said. "It's not only a great cause, but a fun time." Rehmer was one of 10 cyclists who rolled into University of Iowa Children's Hospital on a rainy Monday afternoon as part of the fourth annual Ace Hardware Foundation Tour de Kids. They came bearing a gift of a check for $5,000 to the hospital through the Children's Miracle Network. The money was part of about $600,000 raised so far for the Children's Miracle Network in the bicycle ride that started Friday and will be conducted in three legs from Chicago to Denver, according to Joanne Mueller, event coordinator for the Ace Hardware Foundation. She said the ride gained support from company officials, vendors and storeowners from across the country. Each rider, of which there will be 50 riding some portion of the three legs, had to raise at least $2,500 to participate. Last year, the group raised $3 million. "We constantly do big events, and they support us," Mueller said. John Brandecker, associate hospital director at University Hospital and administrator of UI Children's Hospital, said the money will be used to help pay the living expenses of families whose children are receiving care in the hospital. The money also will help provide toys and activities for younger patients. "This is really special," he said. "This is for the children's hospitals across the nation. We're really fortunate we're a Children's Miracle Network hospital." Mueller said the cyclists stopped at a children's hospital in Chicago last Thursday, and more will stop at hospitals in Omaha, Neb., and Denver. UI Children's Hospital was chosen as a stop partially due to the presence of Ignacio Ponseti, a worldwide expert on clubfoot and the developer of the non-surgical Ponseti method to treat it. He was not present at the event Monday. "This made a lot of sense because of the hospital here," Mueller said. Brody Smock, 17, of Cedar Falls, has been a patient at UI Children's Hospital since Aug. 13, when he had surgery to treat an intestinal problem he had been born with. Smock said he was impressed that the riders were going through sun and rain to help the hospitals. "I think it's awesome," he said. "It makes me happy." Reach Rob Daniel at 339-7360 or rdaniel@press-citizen.com.

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