Dave Amchir, who oversaw the yearly charity event of bikers riding down South Florida highways with toys strapped on their motorcycles, died Wednesday morning, his friends said.
Amchir, of Tamarac, had a heart attack. He was 54.
Amchir, whose nickname was “Tattoo Dave,” took over the event in 2006 after his father, the Toys in the Sun Run founder, died from leukemia.
The fundraising event is billed by organizers as the world’s largest motorcycle parade as bikers zip down interstates 95 and 595, which are closed by police. The bikers wind up at a festival of music and food where riders turn in their toy or cash.
Kevin Janser, senior vice president and chief development officer at Memorial Healthcare System, said the money donations contributed to the construction of a new hospital in Hollywood.
“He certainly made a lot of difference to us and a lot of children,” he said. “We have kids where that stuffed toy is the only toy they get at Christmas.”
A decade into the charity event, in 1999, the bulk of the toys and cash were directed to the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation, the nonprofit arm of its namesake hospital, for children in need. Since then, the bikers are credited with raising about $4 million in cash to benefit the hospital and the “number of toys is uncountable,” said foundation spokesman Stu Opperman. “Literally there are 1,000 kids every single year who get toys through their effort.”
And “not just at Christmas,” but at holiday parties and other events, he said.
Read more: Sun Sentinel