Saturday, April 17, 2010
Today was the Katie Ride for Life. I've heard about it ever since we got into town a few years back, but had never attended. This year I decided to volunteer my time and go work the event rather than just attend.
Why is it called the Katie Ride?? The Katie Caples Foundation was started in 1998 by the family of Katie Caples, a young high school student from Jacksonville who became an organ and tissue donor after not surviving the trauma of an automobile accident. The foundation created a cycling event called the Katie Ride for Life to stimulate public awareness of this problem and to raise funding to help underwrite an organ donor education program, mostly in schools.
Mayo is one of the major sponsors for the Katie Ride.
Carrabba's and Firehouse Subs provided complementary lunch to all that attended the event. Actually, you could eat as much as you'd like and it was really really good. I kept looking for donation bins near the food, but there were none to be found. I guess they wanted to make sure that everyone ate without obligation.
I never could quite understand why there were pirates running around, but the island where the bike ride was held is Fernadina Beach and I noticed on the water tower as I was leaving this evening that it said it was Home of the Pirates. Guess maybe that's why there were so many pirates with such great costumes!
The Mayo Clinic had a team - they had all the same bicycle shirts - but there were also teams from many other companies and of course lots and lots of individuals. I think we had almost 800 riders and walkers.
Everyone who participated received one of these medals.
All of the volunteers in green shirts like this are actual transplant recipients and they passed out the medals to all of the participants. (Seen here with one of the pirates!)
When signing up for the bicycle portion of the event the riders had a choice of 30K, 60K, 100K or 100 miles. It was that 100 mile group that were the last ones to arrive back, but it was also their route that probably used the most signs. There are a lot of signs! Thankfully they can all be used each year.
What a job putting this event together, but the volunteers were amazing! There were a ton of high school kids that volunteered to help. I think they were all from the HS where Katie had attended, which makes it even more special. It was so much fun being with a new group of people but I saw a lot of my friends from other volunteer organizations. Since we all volunteer or work with the organ transplant and donation process, we tend to all be at the same functions.
I've talked about transplants a lot the past few weeks. Spring is a big time for events around Jacksonville - it's not too hot yet :)
Hope you have a great weekend!