Photos taken by: Sanna Coates
Riding a motorcycle gives you a feeling that you can’t completely put into words. The adrenaline, the excitement around every twisty, banked curve on a mountain road…there’s some things you just can’t describe outside of your personal thoughts. The dangers of riding are in our rear view mirrors as we live in and enjoy the moment at hand, just inches from harm’s way at any given moment, whether those dangers are in our control or not.
“There’s only two kinds of riders: Those that have and those that will go down” is a statement every Motorcycle enthusiast has heard a time or ten in their life. A few years ago, my friend sat with me on the beach in Southern California to watch the sun set, and told me about an organization she wanted to form. Its main goal was to raise motorcycle awareness and to help riders in need. The idea was brilliant. I think one of the things that constantly draws me into the Motorcycle Community is the helping hands that are constantly being offered by Moto enthusiasts to help other individuals.
Today, that idea is better known as the 501 (c)(3) organization called Moto F.A.M. (Fundraising and Awareness Movement). Michela George, my SoCal sunset riding buddy and co-founder of Moto F.A.M., sat down with me and gave me the inside scoop on her efforts to bring the motorcycle community together while raising awareness of motorcycling to the general public. Russ Brown is also a leading supporter and title sponsor of the organization.
SW: What is Moto F. A. M.?
MG: Moto F. A. M. is a small 501 (c)(3) whose mission is to come together as a community to help fellow riders in need. We are working hard to pull together friends, family and companies within the riding community to raise money for riders that have been involved in a serious life changing motorcycle accident. We do this in several ways. Right now, our biggest fundraising success comes from an event we throw annually. We work with over 100 motorcycle related companies who donate product for us to raffle off, as well as several brands and motorcycle-inspired events throughout the U.S. that generously donate proceeds regularly to help. It’s truly a unique experience of teamwork. The ability for us to help these riders comes from the people & companies that share our passion to give back.
SW: Why did you create Moto F.A.M.?
MG: “I’ve been riding motorcycles for over 12 years and I’ve never seen as many accidents as I have these past few. More people are riding now than ever and I personally feel that cell phone use and complacency behind the wheel have made it more dangerous out there for all of us. Most injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident leave riders critically injured and unable to work. Gofundme is fairly new and has become an incredible tool for situations like this. It allows people to share their story and hopefully raise money to help during the time they can’t work. Our want to help comes from the need to move forward with life while in recovery mode. We encourage riders to make sure to do their homework about proper health & and motorcycle insurance, but these don’t necessarily help put food in your refrigerator or pay rent or mortgage payments while you’re unable to work. These are the things we want to raise money and help with.
SW: Who is behind Moto F. A. M.?
MG: Moto F. A. M. is made up of myself, the Founder (Mich George), and board members Sanna Coates, Chelsea Holmes, and Damon George. We also rely heavily on a network of event volunteers. Everyone involved with Moto F. A. M. is a rider and a friend. We’ve all known each other and been riding for years.
SW: How is Moto F. A. M. helping the Moto community?
MG: We help by donating money, but another very important part of this has been creating a network of supporters on our website and social media that read the Gofundme Campaign we share about the riders we help. Our hope is that their story might grab some of them and they’ll feel inclined to donate as well. These donation range from $5 to $2000. Every single cent is so unbelievably appreciated… And helpful.
SW: Current achievements? example: how many people have you been able to help that you know of, etc. This can be any kind of positive thing 🙂
Let me start by saying, when I started Moto F. A. M. I never imagined being able to impact as many people as we have….especially so quickly. Since Moto F. A. M. started in March 2015 we have helped just under 70 riders and their families. This has truly been a group effort. Moto F. A. M. just had the idea…. It was the support and generosity of every single person and company that has offered to help us, that has made this work. I am proud and so humbled by the opportunity to be able to do what we are doing everyday.
**I think it’s also important to share the emotional toll it takes on these riders. They are in the hospital watching bills pile up or dealing with being confined to a bed for weeks or months. They become stir crazy. They question whether or not they’ll ride again. Will they still have a job. I’ve heard countless times from the people we have donated to, that seeing people they don’t know reach out and help them means the world to them. It’s motivating and incredibly uplifting.
SW: What are some future goals and projects in the works for the organization?
MG: As far as short term goals, we are gearing up for our 3rd annual fundraising event this Spring. Following this event we plan to raise the amount we donate to each rider in need, to $500.
Two other bigger things we are working on this year is to organize and fund a course for riders to improve their defensive riding skills. We hope to offer 3 of these classes, in 3 different states this year. Another thing I feel is important is finding a way to connect people that have experienced these life changing injuries the ability to connect with each other. There’s so much important information that these people can offer each other. They can address concerns about injuries, medication, insurance questions, legal concerns or emotional support. Information that only people that have been through it can offer.
SW: Anything else you’d like to add?
MG: “Thank you to everyone that believes in what we are doing.”
If you or someone you know needs help following a serious motorcycle accident please share our information. You can apply for help at motofam.org. Please make sure the rider requesting help can confirm the following 3 requirements in order to qualify for funding.
1.) Rider was not under the influence the day of the accident
2.) Rider was not riding in a way that would be considered “grossly neglect”
3.) Rider is permitted or licensed to operate a motorcycle
Upcoming Events Supporting Moto F.A.M.:
Babes Ride Out 5 – October 19-22, 2017