Burn Run: annual event Sunday beginning at Apple Festival grounds

Published 3:09 pm Thursday, July 12, 2007

By By TRICIA PETERS / Niles Daily Star
NILES – In 2001, Doug Myers, Niles Township firefighter and president of Niles Burn Run Inc., was looking for a cause to support. He found it in the Great Lakes Burn Camp.
The camp offers a place for kids ages seven to 17 to meet and heal with other burn victims. Thirteen-year-old Kelan McKnight has attended the camp for the past seven years. At the age of five, he was severely burned in an accident at his home.
Each year when he attends camp, he goes scuba-diving, snorkeling, water-skiing, practices archery and connects with friends who have been through a similar experience.
"My favorite is tubing and swimming," said McKnight.
The other reason camp is special for him is because he gets to see the nurse who took care of him while he was recovering in the hospital. Nurses, firefighters and adult burn victims all work as counselors at the burn camp.
It's youngsters like McKnight who have inspired Myers to use his love of motorcycles to help others. From this was born the Niles Burn Run. Through Myers' efforts and those of many volunteers, the Burn Run has grown from 40 bikes in its first year to more than 330 in 2006. Last year's efforts raised over $10,000.
The 2007 Burn Run will be held Sunday, July 15. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the Niles Apple Festival Grounds at Lake and 17th streets. The cost is $20.00 per bike, $25.00 for bikes with rider. There will be free ride shirts and ride pins upon registration while supplies last.
At 9:30 a.m. begins a Sunday morning service provided by the Christian Motorcycle Association.
The ride begins at noon.
At approximately 50 miles long, the route passes through Dowagiac, Sister Lakes, Eau Claire, Berrien Springs, Buchanan and back into Niles.
Following the ride there will be a free hog roast, live band, door prizes, vendor booths and biker games.
This annual event is organized and run entirely by volunteers and funded by donations. All proceeds will be donated to the Great Lakes Burn Camp.
For more information on the Burn Run visit www.NilesBurnRun.com and for more information about the Great Lakes Burn Camp visit www.greatlakesburncamp.com.