Inclement weather made for soggy conditions when the Emily and Maddie Memorial Motorcycle Ride and Show was held Sept. 19 at the Parkway Drive-In on East Lamar Alexander Parkway. Not to be daunted, the Blount County Association of Realtors, who host the event, and the Dixie Iron Riders, who assist with the ride, opted to hold a rain date for the ride.
The rain date -- and a change in venue -- will be held at the 411 Biker Depot, across from Pancho’s restaurant on US 411 South in Maryville, on Sunday, Oct. 25.
The ride is a benefit for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Registration is from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., and the rider depart at 2 p.m. There will be a bike show upon return to 411 Biker Depot.
Entry fee is $20 per motorcycle for the ride and a $5 fee to enter the show.
All proceeds from the day benefit the Oncology/Hematology Department at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The event is named and held in memory of Emily Barger and Maddie Harrill, who lost their battle with childhood cancer during the summer of 2008.
Maddie’s parents, James and Christina Harrill of Lenoir City, said they were grateful to BCAR and the Dixie Iron Riders for their efforts with the ride and show.
“When you have a child who dies, the type of grief it produces can consume all happiness, and you have to find something positive to focus on,” said James Harrill. “Events like this represent a positive event to focus on. It represents a legacy for Maddie and Emily. They never quit living; they enjoyed life to the fullest. When I see people out there doing something good in their name, representing their legacy, it makes us very proud.”
Emily’s parents, Brian and Misty Barger of Halls, said it was an honor to have the community support them in raising awareness of childhood cancer.
“It means a lot,” said Brian. “People we have never met before come together for one common cause to help out, not only our family, but hopefully other families in the future who have to go through the same thing. The guys have done a great job putting this together, and we appreciate everything they do and continue to do.”
Seth Linkous, associate director for public relations at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, said that, in a down economy, events like the Emily and Maddie Memorial Motorcycle Ride and Show allow the hospital to provide extras for the families of children at the hospital.
“Other hospitals don’t have the need for the toys or child life specialists or creature comforts we try to provide to make their hospital stay as pleasant as possible,” Linkous said. “The small things make a big difference, whether it’s having a play room or just board games - that’s an outlet for kids. Kids express their emotions through play. It is also a reward system, and it gets them motivated so they get up and walk to the playroom. Fundraisers like this are important to our existence.”
For more information, call 865-982-2066 or visit www.bcartn.com.