More than 100 motorcyclists filled the Ollie's parking lot this past weekend to raise funds for 16-year-old Dylan Dinkins, a recipient of two heart transplants and two brain surgeries.
Dinkins was born with a hypoplastic left heart, a congenital heart condition, according to the Mayo Clinic. He received his first heart transplant in 2008, which was rejected five years later and he was placed back on the heart transplant waiting list. Dinkins was put on a Berlin Heart, an artificial heart, while waiting for a transplant.
He waited 137 days in the hospital for a new heart.
Dinkins is one of eight brothers and sisters. His family has incurred medical, travel, and household expenses as part of the fight to survive. The event was to help the Dinkins family and to offer support.
One hundred seventeen motorcyclists left the parking lot at 9 a.m. for a group ride, supporting 16-year-old Dinkins, making stops at several bars and restaurants in the area, eventually returning to Ollie's later in the afternoon. The route looped around Escambia and Santa Rosa County, covering 95 miles.
Upon return several hours later, riders, friends and family gathered in the parking lot for an after-ride event. Coordinators cooked out on a hefty, mobile grille offering plates of food for donations.
Raffle tickets were sold, with gifts from local businesses and a 50/50 split pot was formed. Fifty percent would go to the raffle winner and 50 percent would go toward charity. Several items were auctioned off during the event to raise funds for the young man.
Rock band from Milton Deja Voodu played a set outside for the gathering, warming up the crowd and keeping the evening going, while people shared drinks and showed off their custom "hogs."
After things wrapped up around 9 p.m., the event raised $4,126 for a good cause, according to coordinator Tondra Pope.