Six Oklahoma kids battling cancer received a special visit on Sunday, by Santa with hundreds of bikers in tow during the annual OK Kids Korral Toy Ride.
Former University of Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops and country music singer and native Oklahoman Toby Keith led the motorcycle motorcade on a 50-mile ride through the metro to deliver Christmas early.
“It’s a beautiful thing and this thing just gets bigger every year,” said Toby Keith.
Bikers from across the state and beyond gathered at Fort Thunder Harley Davidson in Moore ready to roll and spread some Christmas cheer. The kickstands went up at 10 a.m. and the long trail of 206 motorcycles headed out for the joyful ride, with six planned stops for six waiting kids. Six-year-old Elijah was one of them.
“This has been an amazing day for him,” said Selene Dehearani, Elijah’s Mother.
Elijah is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer and has had two brain surgeries and is now undergoing chemotherapy.
“The chemo goes in through a button and it's very, very scary,” Dehearani said. “He has been a trooper and he has been taking it so well.”
However, on Sunday, the moment they pulled up, he was just another little boy in awe by what's approaching his home. Santa with 300 bikers and riders pulling up behind him.
“This has been a very overwhelming amazing experience,” she said. “I did not think it was going to be this big but just the look on his face.”
As one by one, total strangers dropped presents off at his feet. A few of them even for his brother.
“These are the people that were selected that are very deserving of it,” Keith said. “They get flooded with gifts, it's a beautiful thing.”
The ride is possible through The Bob Stoops Champions Foundation, The Toby Keith Foundation, and a host of other local sponsors.
“You donate to some foundation you never know where it goes and me and Bob try to find ways to let people see the sticks and the bricks of the deal where people actually see what their money's doing,” Keith said.
Elijah has a long road ahead of him, a year and a half of chemotherapy treatments, but the prognosis is good. The tumor has not only stopped growing but is beginning to shrink.
“This kind of tumor, once it stops growing they will be able to live a normal life,” said Dehearani. “This has been an amazing day for him. The outlook is looking great.”
Sunday’s ride also raised close to $50,000 to support the OK Kids Korral, a place where out-of-town cancer patients can stay with their families for free.