IMG_1079 On June 6, before the sun rises, bikers from all over the country will gather at Bethel Baptist Church in Dothan, AL. There will be laughter, excitement, and anticipation in the air as they prepare to take off on an exhilarating ride through the beautiful countryside. I love these early mornings! Volunteers are eagerly assisting with registration, giving directions, and finding maps for the riders who will ride 30, 41, 69, or 102 miles before returning.
These riders, many who are strangers to me, are dear to my heart. At the end of this ride, when each one has finished his chosen course, had his post race meal and returned home, when all the supplies are loaded and the last volunteer has headed home, that is when the real rewards begin. The money raised on this fun filled day will travel 200 miles north to a place where a very different type of race is being run. In this place there is laughter, but there are also tears. There are great victories some days and great hardship and disappointment on others. At this place, the “riders” are children and their course is the battle for their lives against childhood cancer. The money will go to the Dawn Pitchford Patient Care Fund (established in memory of our sweet daughter) through the Hope & Cope Department at The Children’s Hospital of Alabama Hematology/Oncology Division. It will help families whose children are battling childhood cancer with non medical needs. This money may be used to buy gasoline to make the many trips necessary to the clinic for treatment. It might pay for hotel rooms or meals for the parent who is away from home or a wig to cover a little bald head. Somedays it will even go to help pay a mortgage payment that is behind because a parent has missed so much work to be at their child’s bedside. The list of needs goes on and on and that is why the bikers at the Tristates 100 ride on.
This will mark the 13th year wheels have been turning to raise money for our kids. The brainchild of Stephanie Varner it has been a God send to many families. Stephanie’s husband Joe works tirelessly with a dedicated committee of volunteers to be sure that it all works like a well oiled machine the day of the ride. They all give freely of their time and talents for many weeks prior to the ride for children they don’t even know. Local TCH liaison, Angie Sherrill is there from beginning to end, smiling all the while. It is true dedication to a worthy cause.
SO-if you aren’t busy on June 6 join us, bright and early, to ride for the children. If you don’t ride you can always donate, no amount is too small or too large!! We would love to have you stop by and meet us and hear more about our event and the children. If you need more information you can go to www.Tristates100.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And for the children-RIDE ON!!