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Couple works to ensure that local children have bicycle helmets

There is a new effort being made to ensure that children riding bicycles through town are doing so as safely as possible. The Aaron Saunders Foundation is working with the Sunnyside Police Department to give away bicycle helmets to those who are currently riding around without the safety gear.

Elizabeth Knowles and her husband, Joe, are the leaders behind the Aaron Saunders Foundation, which was just recently founded.

Knowles explained the foundation was started when her son's best friend, Aaron Saunders, was hit by a truck while he was riding his bicycle. The accident took place June 16. Knowles said Saunders was in a coma for quite some time, but recently came out of it and is working to recover.

"He's a great kid," Knowles said of Saunders, whom she said loves both pets and children.

It was after Saunders' accident that Knowles and her family decided they wanted to help ensure that what happened to her son's best friend didn't happen to someone else's child.

Knowles said she and her husband started talking and realized that last year, around this same time, the Sunnyside Police Department held a bike rodeo to promote bicycle safety. She decided to call the police department and see if that was an activity with which the newly formed Aaron Saunders Foundation could help.

The bicycle rodeo and helmet giveaway is set to take place on Saturday, Aug. 13, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Sunnyside Community Center in South Hill Park.

Knowles said the event will feature everything from bicycle safety tips to a barbecue. She said various community groups will have informational booths set up for the event and the local VFW post will be manning the barbecue grill.

She added that the Foundation has also been working to obtain items for a raffle, which will take place at the bicycle rodeo. To date the group has more than 100 items that will be raffled off, including a painting by Harold Clark and an amethyst and diamond ring. Tickets for the raffle are 50ยข each.

Of course, the event will also include a bicycle helmet giveaway, which will help ensure that anyone who needs a helmet will receive one.

For more information on the bicycle rodeo and helmet giveaway or to purchase raffle tickets in advance call the Knowles at 837-5215.

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