On Saturday, October 13, there were at least a dozen different rides going on in the state of Alabama, two of which took place at the Birmingham Greyhound Race Course. Cycle Connections is the founding sponsor and promoter of the Saturday bike night at this course, and as such, it enables us to help organize and be part of various motorcycle events.
A few months back, we were contacted by Suzanne Oberholster to help organize a ride to raise donations and awareness for Rett Syndrome, a devastating neurological disease that primarily affects young girls and women. Girls with Rett Syndrome cannot talk, many of them can’t walk, and several don't have use of their hands. This means they require assistance 24/7, which is also very hard on their family, friends, and caregivers. Suzanne and her husband know this all too well from first hand experience, because they have lived for the past ten years with their daughter Anna who was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome when she was only one-year-old.
Suzanne, her husband, and friends realized that most people had never even heard of Rett Syndrome, so, with the assistance of a few families in the area who had daughters with Rett Syndrome, and a little help, a ride was created that would take place at the Birmingham Race Course.
We got there early to help Suzanne and her crew set up for registration and get their door prizes together, which were so generously donated to them. There was a group of folks already set up in the parking lot out front who were putting on a car and bike show to benefit the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. We thought we would help them out a little too, so a few weeks prior we helped them distribute flyers, and Leigh brought the V-Rod to enter in the bike show.
We were promised the pleasure of getting to meet some of the sweetest, most beautiful girls in the world; a promised that was fulfilled with all the little stars that were in attendance for the event. Most of their mothers and parents were part of the crew of helpers. Rene Davis brought her daughter, Kimberly; Debby Gipner brought her daughter, Ashley, Molly Porter brought her daughter Emma, and Georgia Leatherwood was there with Miss Breanna. These little girls seemed so happy to be there, but I think all of the people and bikes may have been a bit overwhelming. They were all the sweetest things, and very cute!
I need to add Marilyn Archibald and Ken Proia, who were also part of the help crew. Ken rides and I believe he was the driving force behind Susanne choosing to do a motorcycle fundraising event. I’m sure he played a huge part in the planning of this as well, which I know she greatly appreciated.
The trickle of bikes coming in for the Rett Ride was slow but steady. With everything that was going on that weekend, it wasn’t a huge surprise that the turnout was not what we had hoped for; but we made the best of it.
Leigh helped plan a two-hour scenic ride that would take them through some of the most beautiful countryside on their way to Buffalo Wild Wings in Trussville. After all of the door prizes were given out and everyone was thanked for coming, it was time to mount up! Since Leigh had the bike tied up in the bike show, he was unable to lead the ride, but thankfully, a friend of ours, Dave, who is also related to crew member Rene Davis, led the ride for us.
The crew of ladies saved the 50/50 draw for when everyone got to Buffalo Wild Wings. After everyone parked their bikes, the ladies called out the winner of the 50/50 drawing, who promptly donated the money back to them. The ladies were all very touched by this generosity because they didn’t realize most of the benefit ride winners usually donate part or all of their winnings back; which, by no means, takes away from this very generous act.
After cutting up outside for a while and letting Ms Georga feel like a biker for a moment, we all retreated back inside for wings, football, beer, and a kick-ass frozen margarita laced with Patrone. Then, we sat through the last few stressful minutes of the Alabama game.
Everyone enjoyed the ride, meeting all the young ladies, and the time at Buffalo Wild Wings, whom we thank so very much for letting us invade their place of business. Suzanne and her group raised a little money and a lot of awareness for Rett Syndrome, and our hope is that more and more people will become aware of this disease, and continue to help these girls and their families by donating their time and money in the continued development of treatment options.
Thank you, Suzanne for allowing us to be a part of this event, and many thanks to all of you who participated donated your time. We look forward to working with all of you again at next years ride!
Many blessings to all of the girls, and we wish you all the best the future has to offer.
Write-On and Ride-On
Story and photos by Lynn Reynolds and
Leigh Lilly - Birmingham, Alabama