The inaugural Paisley’s Wheels Across America, a ride to benefit Down syndrome research, started on June 5 in Little Rock, Ark., the hometown of Paisley White, the 3-year-old with Down syndrome for whom the event is named.
Elizabeth Mcdowell, the non-profit organization’s governor for District 4 of Alabama, said along with bicycles other “people powered wheels,” such as wheel chairs, are allowed for use in the trek that will end at the Civitan International Research Center on the campus of UAB.
Paisley and her father, Heath White, will be in Birmingham today to complete the final leg of the first-time event for which organizers set a goal of raising $25,000.
“He does marathons with Paisley all the time,” McDowell said. “He will be pushing Paisley in her stroller.”
The funds raised will be used to pay for an “emerging scholar” to study the cause of Down syndrome at the research center.
Two of the top scientists at the research center, Alan Parcy and Harald Sontheimer, are coming to Jasper to ride the final 48 miles of Paisley’s Wheels Across America.
Halie Sherer, president of the Jasper Civitans, said the proverbial torch is expected to be handed off in Jasper at Jim Short’s Radial Tire and Bandag, 15 W. 20th Street in Jasper, at approximately 12:30 p.m. today.
“All the money is for Down Syndrome research,” said Sherer. “The riders sign up and they get pledges and corporate sponsors.”
Sherer said those who want to take part in the relay are not required to go the entire distance to Birmingham.
“Riders can go as far as they want. They can go 20 miles and stop or they can go the whole way if they’re capable of doing it.”
As a safety precaution, Sherer said a truck will accompany the bicyclists and the route wil employ back roads to further reduce risk.
“They’ll end up at the Civitan International Research Center at 5 o’clock
Also taking part in the event’s finale in Birmingham will be Mark Eisinger, the Civitan International president who is traveling from Las Vegas to particpate in the ride.
Joing Eisinger from Florida will be Jarryd Boyd, president of Junior Civitan International, a branch of the organization geared toward high school students.
McDowell said plans for a second Paisley’s Wheels Across America is in the works.
She said the organization will attempt to get more Civitan groups involved in the 2011 effort.
McDowell is expected to announce the final results of the fundraiser today in Birmingham.