Inaugural ‘Ride and Rally’ at the Zoo a Roaring Success

By: Madison Brunner


With the help of the Fire and Iron Station 6 Motorcycle Club, who generously donated funds, the UPMC Mercy Burn Center recently hosted a picnic for pediatric burn patients and their families at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium for the inaugural “Ride and Rally at the Zoo.”

The event had 52 attendees, which included 10 pediatric patients and their families, as well as six staff members. The group spent the day exploring the zoo and also got an up-close and personal experience learning about and petting some of the animals, like the great horned owl. In the afternoon, the families took a break from their adventures to have lunch and accept a donation from the motorcycle club members.

This year they were able to donate $12,722.50. The money benefits pediatric patients by providing state-of-the-art equipment to the burn center to assist in the care of pediatric patients, as well as aid them with the costs of necessary wound care supplies after discharge from the hospital that may not be covered by insurance carriers.

“Our job is to educate children about what is going on while they are patients at our burn center, as well as provide coping mechanisms for them to utilize during their stay,”  We always aim to provide the children with normal experiences like they would have outside of the hospital”, said Melissa Shiring, child life specialist, UPMC Mercy Trauma Burn Center.

The Pittsburgh “Station 6” of the Fire and Iron Motorcycle Club began in 2002. The organization is composed of firefighters and their friends and families. They routinely participate in charity work, bonding over their shared interest of bettering the community by helping those who need it most. The Fire and Iron Motorcycle Club raises monies by hosting a Valentine’s Day dance in February, and a motorcycle run in the summer. The funds are then donated to two burn centers in Pittsburgh, one being the UPMC Mercy Burn Center. Over the past eight years, they have raised $133,415 dollars that was split between the two burn centers.

“The club is composed of firefighters and their friends and family who ride together and participate in a lot of charity work” said Ernie Daum, president; Fire and Iron Motorcycle Station 6 Club. The UPMC Mercy Burn Center hopes to make the Ride and Rally at the Zoo an annual event in which club members, and the pediatric patients their donations benefit, can reunite as a celebration of the patient’s survival and the member’s generosity.