It didn’t take a lot of arm twisting to convince a band of burly blokes to help a little girl in need.
More than 40 motorbike enthusiasts rode across the Riverina for a charity Poker Run on Saturday, raising money for three-year-old Mia Stewart.
Mia has a congenital deficiency that saw her born with a severely underdeveloped left him and femur. Her family have since been fundraising to receive life-changing surgery in the United States.
It is the second time the military motorcycle club, Patriots Riverina, have geared up to support residents in need, having come to the aid of fellow former ex-serviceman Brad Fewson in 2015.
Club secretary and former soldier David Webster said Mia’s Big Adventure was one of three charities that would share the funds from this year’s ride.
The former infantry soldier said supporting veterans’ mental health was something he and fellow club members felt strongly about.
“We’re all past or serving military members, so Solider On is sort of an automatic, but it’s not only military personnel that suffer PTSD ... so we chose Police Legacy as well,” he said.
“Because those charities are face-less, we chose Mia as well.”
It follows the death of another Australian soldier, who took his own life this week, bringing the heartbreaking total number of suicides to 75 this year.
It is the driving force behind the group’s decision to support Soldier On.
“Our government is not doing enough for soldiers in distress,” Mr Webster said.
“Our former soldiers are living homeless on the streets and the government is donating millions and millions to other things.”
Club president Lee Mottee said members did what they could to support their “brothers in arms”.
More than 30 motorcycles roared through the rain across Wagga, Junee, Coota, Gundagai and Tarcutta on Saturday, raising hundreds for the three causes.
Club president Lee Mottee said participant numbers were not as high as hoped, but the rain did not dampened the spirit of the poker run, nor the show and shine that followed.
“We’re all wet but we’re all happy,” Mr Mottee said. “We’re hoping to raise more money as the night goes on.”
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