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Harley riders provide birthday surprise to grieving Tsawwassen family

It was a motorcycle parade on Liam Hance's street courtesy of the HOG Langley Chapter

A group of Harley Davidson motorcycle enthusiasts visited a Tsawwassen neighbourhood last week to provide a special birthday surprise.

The HOG (Harley Owners Group) Langley Chapter took to its regular Wednesday weekly ride to the peninsula to pay tribute on Liam Hance’s birthday the 11-year-old who recently lost his father Reid Hance to complications from COVID-19. Reid was just 46.

“It’s all about changing the conversation,” said ride organizer Owen Barclay. “I lost my son 11 years ago. I know this isn’t the same, but it’s just as significant and sudden. It’s just nice to give back, especially during these times when people are struggling.”

Barclay decided to organize the ride after seeing Liam’s mom request on social media to send birthday cards to her son. He got to know Melissa through her work as president of the Dreams Take Flight Vancouver chapter, the charity that raises money to annually fly 125 children with challenges to Disneyland for a day.

“My son Ryan was on the flight in 2000. Through friends I found out about it again eight years ago and met Melissa through going to golf tournaments, meat draws and donating my money and my time,” explained Barclay.

The trek to Tsawwassen was approved by the HOG executive and 41 bikes, with 50 members made their way to the Hances’ neighbourhood.

After parading up and down the street, the group got off their bikes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Liam and presented the family with birthday and sympathy cards, along with a cash donation. The HOGS’ Throttle Sistas also collected swag from some Harley Davidson dealerships to give to Liam and his brother Luke.

“I am extremely grateful for the generosity and love from all of the bikers near and far who took the time to surprise my son Liam for his birthday. It made us all smile,” said Melissa. “We thank them for their gifts and donations during this time of sorrow.”

HOG members came from far away as Cultus Lake, Chilliwack and Mission to participate in the ride.

“It’s a very caring group of people,” added Barclay. “It’s not something we go out of our way to do but if something comes across our plate then as a chapter we decide to do it. I’ve only been a member for two-and-half years so I wasn’t really well-known within the chapter. I can ensure you they all know me now. It was an amazing response.”