Ronan Wolf displays his first trophy he won last season in dirt biking with his mom, Cait. Ronan’s dirt bike was stolen from their underground garage on Jan. 25 and a GoFundMe campaign started by Summerland resident Elijah Saarinen has already almost raised enough to replace it. Image from GoFundMe

Summerland man helps unite B.C. dirt bike community after theft of boys bike

GoFundMe for Lower Mainland child’s stolen bike almost at goal in just 72 hours

What started out as an unfair turn-of-events when seven-year-old Ronan Wolfe’s dirt bike was stolen has now turned into a heartwarming story of community, thanks to a Summerland man.

A normally shy and quiet boy, Wolfe turns into a confident and happy kid when he’s tearing around the racetrack according to his mother, Cait. She said with all of the pressure he feels at school, dirt biking provides Ronan a much-needed outlet. Last week they found cut locks and an empty space where his bike is usually parked in their underground garage in the Lower Mainland. It left Cait’s faith in humanity shaken.

While Cait came to grips with the situation and began filing the bike as stolen with RCMP, it was Ronan who remained calm and began to soothe his distraught mother. She said “it was amazing” to see him act so maturely even though he was now without his prized possession.

“He was really upset, he’s a pretty sensitive kid. I was kind of shook, calling the police to make a report,” said Cait. “I was pretty choked … and feeling pretty defeated, pretty close to tears and he’s like ‘Mom, don’t be sad — we have water, we have food, we have a great home. We’re OK’ and it was so neat. He’s a pretty cool little kid.”

The family was met with overwhelming support from B.C.’s dirt biking and motorcycling community. Just days after the incident, Elijah Saarinen, a Summerland resident who shared mutual friends with the Wolf’s, decided to reach out and right this wrong.

“I’ve never met Elijah, we’re part of the same community though. So he wrote a comment on the (Facebook) page saying he’d like to donate money to get a new bike if it isn’t found.” said Cait. “I was blown away, I thought ‘That’s crazy, who does that’ so it was pretty uplifting.”

Having an extensive background in motorcycling in B.C., Saarinen said he couldn’t let it go that a young boy was without his beloved bike when he was just getting into the sport. This is when he started the GoFundMe campaign titled ‘Help get Ronan back on a dirtbike!’ with a goal of $2,800 for a replacement bike.

“I immediately wanted to do something about it, I grew up racing off-road motorcycles and it was super important to my development,” said Saarinen. “And after hearing about how mature Ronan was afterwards, I just decided that he needed a new bike right now.”

After just two days, the GoFundMe campaign has already raised $2,495. Saarinen said he was “blown away” by the support. As of Monday, they surpassed the $2,800 goal.

Cait said Ronan was completely overjoyed when he heard the news that the GoFundMe campaign had nearly raised enough money to replace his bike. In addition, Saarinen is covering both Cait and Ronan’s insurance for their bikes for the next year.

“I don’t know if he understands GoFundMe but I showed him the green bar that goes across the screen and how close it was,” said Cait. “And telling him how many people had chipped in and how we were pretty much able to buy a bike at this point. I wasn’t sure how I was going to afford it.”

Both Cait and Saarinen believe this support from strangers for the GoFundMe campaign is a testament to how tight-knit the biking community is. Both hope Ronan will be able to take away a valuable lesson from his experience.

“Two things happened recently, first I broke my leg and then his dirt bike was stolen. Both scenarios were a huge reminder of how are surrounded by a huge community, and we don’t know each other but we’re all bonded by a passion for bikes,” said Cait. “People reaching out of nowhere, to feel that support and love from the community just leaves you in such a state of gratitude. You can really lose faith when the chips are down.”

“He should realize that he has the ability to do the same thing. If he comes across someone who is struggling or the same situation happens to someone he doesn’t really know but hears about it, and if he feels that calling that one human being can make a massive difference for someone else,” said Saarinen. “I hope that he takes away that life is OK. I just want this to elevate him so that he can elevate other people.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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