Bulloch County, I challenge you to help make a difference.
Cancer is a terrible disease for anyone, but when it strikes a child, it is even more devastating.
Any disease that is potentially fatal is frightening, and treatment of diseases is an ordeal. When the person suffering is a child, it compounds the issue.
Not every family is financially prepared when a child is diagnosed with disease. The bills can mount, and add stress to an already difficult situation.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital offers treatment and care regardless of the patient’s family’s ability to pay, and that is one reason the organization is my charity of choice.
This is a time of year when everyone is bombarded with requests for money. Every time we turn around someone is asking for a donation for this or that, and the causes are always worthy. But seeing how St. Jude focuses on healing children and finding cures for diseases, I’ve made the commitment to do my part in helping the organization.
May 12 is the third year we will host the Saddle Up St. Jude Bulloch County at Clark Farms near Portal. Debbie and Al Clark have been gracious enough to allow the use of their farm, and others owning land nearby - including Grant Hendricks, Mike Carter, Robert Anderson and Perry Cobb - have been generous in allowing us to ride across their beautiful properties.
Last year’s ride was quite a bit larger than the first one, and we hope this year will be even better. According to the Judge’s Ride List (www.judgesridelist.com) there isn’t another trail ride in the area that weekend, and hopefully the weather will cooperate.
Last year’s ride raised almost $2,000. We hope this year we will surpass $3,000, but we cannot do so without the community’s help.
Working for a charity is quite rewarding. Knowing the efforts expended will help a child recover from cancer or another serious illness, or will help fund research that may find a cure for these diseases, is well worth the time and energy. A great deal of work and planning goes into any fund raising event, but every minute, every ounce of muscle power, every dime is worthwhile.
Riders are asked to pay $15 for the ride, including a meal and entertainment. However, this year a prize will be awarded to the rider collecting the most money. It works like a bike-a-thon where riders ask for sponsors to donate pledges for their rides.
Local businesses also donate items for a raffle, door prizes and a live auction. Last year a chocolate cake baked by local baker Monty Deal brought over $40! All money raised goes to St. Jude.
Participants don’t have to ride horses. We will need volunteers to help with the ride, donors to provide food for the meal after the ride, entertainment during the meal and most of all, monetary donations.
All riders - and even those who collect donations without riding- will receive incentive prizes. Everyone registering as a rider or participant will receive a lapel pin. Those collecting $35 or more will be given a St. Jude tee shirt. Collect over $75, and a backpack joins the tee shirt.
Add a sweatshirt to the pile if you collect over $125, and those collecting $175 or more get the whole kaboodle, plus a baseball cap.
And whoever brings in the most money will get a cool prize to be announced later.
Non riders can come enjoy the meal and entertainment for a $10 donation.
Founded by Danny Thomas, St. Jude shares its research discoveries with other medical communities worldwide, and never charges a family for treatment not covered by insurance. Those without insurance are never asked to pay, either. More information can be discovered through Internet web site www.stjude.org.
We always have a great time on these trail rides. The trails we take are beautiful and showcase of some of Bulloch and Candler counties’ wildlife. And when everyone gets back, the camaraderie and fellowship is awesome.
To be successful, however, it’s going to take teamwork.
I challenge each and every reader of this column to make a donation. In addition to checks made payable to St. Jude, we need donated food or money for food and supplies for the meal, as well as items to auction or raffle. Each business making a donation will receive a thank-you certificate from St. Jude, and all donations are tax deductible (we provide the forms).
Step up to the challenge and let’s make a difference in a child’s life. Send checks to Holli Bragg, Statesboro Herald, P.O. Box 888, Statesboro Ga. 30458, made out to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, or contact me to donate food, supplies and other items.
It’s a worthy cause. Open your hearts and lets show St. Jude what Bulloch County can do!