The third annual Savannah Faith Miracle Ride, which honors a 5-year-old girl whose choice to be an organ donor saved four lives after she died in a 2007 car wreck, will take place on Sept. 24 rather than today.
Sandy Sides, an organizer of the ride and mother of Savannah Faith Sides, said those who normally attend the ride have been busy with volunteer work to benefit the victims of the recent disaster.
Sides said that, last Sunday for example, many of the riders and members of her church — New Prospect Baptist — handed out flowers on Mothers Day to tornado survivors.
She also said many riders and vendors to the event have been affected by the tornadoes.
Sides said the first benefit ride brought in 40 motorcyclists and raised about $1,200 to help pay for the expenses of a kidney and liver transplant for local resident Bill Parker.
Sides said that, even after a transplant, monthly medical bills for a patient can range from $6,000 to $8,000.
Last year’s ride saw 140 people and raised nearly $5,000, which has been held for this year’s beneficiary, 23-year-old Jessica Carter of Trussville, who is awaiting a kidney transplant.
“We were just overwhelmed with joy,” said Dee Carter, Jessica’s mother. “I was so surprised people today are willing to help people like that.”
Jessica Carter, a hair stylist, has been forced to stop working due to her illness.
“This has just devastated her,” Dee Carter said.
Sides said the Savannah Faith Miracle Ride not only provides funds for families like the Carter’s, but also helps bring awareness to the importance of organ donation.
Sides’ daughter, Savannah Faith, died on May 15, 2007 from massive brain injuries sustained during a car wreck that occurred as Sandy drove her to school. Sandy was also injured during the incident and spent 15 days in a coma.
Sandy said that Savannah requested to be an organ donor a month before the wreck. Sandy said that she and her husband, Stephen, tried to explain to Savannah that she had a long time before she needed to worry about that, but her daughter responded with, “You need to put my name down because I’m not going to need them in Heaven.”
Sandy said that, months after Savannah’s death, Stephen bought a motorcycle. She said she initially wanted nothing to do with the machine, but “when he finally talked me into it, I loved it.”
Both Sandy and Stephen had discussed a ride to support organ donation, and when they heard about a member of their church awaiting a transplant, they looked at each other and said, “You thinking what I’m thinking.”
Sandy said organizers have also developed the ride into a family-oriented event with inflatables and face-painting booths.
“A lot of (benefit rides) aren’t kid-friendly or even Christian friendly for that matter,” she said.
The third annual Savannah Faith Miracle ride will begin at Carl Cannon Chevrolet on Sept. 24. Registration begins at 8 a.m., with kick-stands up at 10 a.m.
For more information about the ride, log on to www.savannahmr.org