A group of motorcyclists gathered outdoors in Rutland on Monday to remember an 18-month-old boy who passed away tragically last year.
On April 19, 2020, Gaige Banman was run over by a car on McCurdy Road. His parents have spent the past year grieving and on the one-year anniversary of Gaige’s death, the Urban Bulldogs Against Kids Abuse (UBAKA) was determined to make sure they didn’t have to grieve alone.
“We wanted to make sure the family knew they were supported,” said the UBAKA Kelowna Chapter’s secretary, Stephanie Margetts.
After hearing the tragic story of Gaige’s death, they wanted to find a way to help the family heal.
The Urban Bulldogs Against Kids Abuse is a non-profit motorcycle organization that advocates against child abuse. Its goal is to provide help and safety to children who have been sexually, physically and psychologically abused. The group also aims to help sick children and their families – and in this case, support a family that has experienced a tragedy.
Gaige’s favourite thing to do was blow bubbles, so it was only fitting that the group gathered to blow bubbles and send off balloons in his memory. About 35 people gathered outdoors and socially distanced, with 11 motorcycles lined up in honour of the toddler.
“When there is a tragedy, people want to point fingers and blame someone for what happened,” explained Margetts. “Everybody is looking for a bad guy. But this was an unfortunate circumstance, it was an accident.”
Margetts added that often motorcycle groups are viewed as ‘bad guys’ who are intimidating, but UBAKA wants to break that stereotype.
“We’re just families who love children and love motorcycles,” she continued. “We just want to help children and families feel safe and supported.”
According to Margetts, the family was overwhelmed as blue and green balloons were released for Gaige.
“It was a very emotional day for everyone.”