Ridgeland Recreation and Parks will be hosting a fall bike ride this year on October 9 to raise funds for the Children’s Mississippi Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
Rachel Collier, Ridgeland’s Sponsorship and Marketing Coordinator, said the city had never taken a bike ride to raise funds, but knew she wanted her donation focused on one goal. They chose the Cancer and Blood Disorders Center as the beneficiary of Cycle Out Kids Cancer because of the ongoing hospital renovation project. The refurbishment of the hospital will include additional examination rooms, a larger blood room and an updated pharmacy in the center.
“We wanted to do a project that we felt could make a difference,” Collier said.
Peggy McIntosh was once a parent who spent endless hours inside hospital walls while her son, Josh, was being treated for a brain tumor at the age of 13 for almost a year. Josh has been in remission for three and a half years, but for McIntosh, the impact of the hospital on his family is still fresh on his mind.
“Life ended as we knew it,” McIntosh said. “Her doctor said he was the sickest child she had ever cared for. It was really difficult because he was so sick.
Despite her son’s cancer and the hardships that accompany the disease, McIntosh has always said the experience was a blessing because of the hospital and the people there. She said the Children’s of Mississippi made all the difference because, although St. Jude was a wonderful hospital, it would have cost her home, job and community to move her son for treatment in this area. hospital. Being able to stay at home in Madison allowed Josh to keep his friends, school, and support while undergoing treatment.
“We should have moved to Tennessee and started over as a sick kid knowing no one,” McIntosh said. “[Children’s of Mississippi] is right here and the only place we have in Mississippi for sick kids, and it’s an amazing place.
She said that although Josh has now been in remission for several years, everyone in the hospital still knows and loves him. They follow the nurses who take care of him, even going so far as to attend weddings and baby showers for these nurses. McIntosh said it was as if she now had eight daughters.
“It’s like it’s our big, big extended family,” McIntosh said. “They are just part of our lives. It’s a great group of nurses.
She pointed out that nurses and staff don’t just take care of Josh, but every child they have treated. She said there is so much love in the hospital and everyone is special and matters to them.
“They had a million children as patients, and they still remember my son,” McIntosh said. “He is also their child because they have invested so much of their time, their life and their love in him. They worked so hard to make things better with such a tragic diagnosis. Anything that will help them do their jobs better and get better facilities is important. ”
McIntosh said this Cycle Out Kids Cancer bike ride is one of those things that will make a difference for the hospital, staff and patients.
“By participating, you can make a huge difference for a child who may have nothing else left,” McIntosh said.
Ryan Mains, Mississippi Children’s Development Liaison Officer, said the renovations will provide a more comfortable space for patients and their families. Improvements to the pharmacy will create space for an on-site pharmacist and allow for further clinical trials.
“Throughout the renovation planning process, improving the patient and family experience has been a primary focus,” said Mains.
The entire project is estimated at $ 2.5 million. Collier said the goal is to have 100 attendees and raise $ 5,000 to help with the costs of the renovations. She said she would encourage people to participate because it’s for a good cause and, for avid cyclists, it’s one of the last rides of the season. While the spring walk takes place along the reservoir, this walk will take place at the Renaissance in Colony Park and explore the west side of Ridgeland.
“It gives the community an additional opportunity to enjoy a long scenic ride, but the main reason for taking the ride is to support this specific fundraising opportunity,” Collier said.
The Children’s of Mississippi Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders is Mississippi’s only pediatric care center and one of the nation’s largest clinics for children with sickle cell disease.
“Raising funds to improve the center will help the thousands of children across the state who come for treatment at Children’s of Mississippi,” Mains said. “Participating in the first Cycle Out Kids Cancer is a fun, family-friendly way to support this renewal effort. ”
To find out more and register for the bike ride, visit this site: https://runsignup.com/Race/MS/Ridgeland/CycleOutKidsCancer.