PELHAM, Ala. – Motorcycle enthusiasts from throughout Central Alabama will gather at the Pelham Civic Center Sunday, Sept. 25, 2005 for the Fourth Annual Ride for Kids in support of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
Last year more than 650 motorcyclists, volunteers and patient family members attended the event and raised more than $101,000 for the foundation.
Cyclists are the heart and soul of the national Ride for Kids program, which started in 1984 and has since grown to incorporate community motorcycle riding events throughout the United States.
This Sunday, riders will journey from the Pelham Civic Center, through Shelby County and conclude the ride at a Celebration Event at the University of Montevallo.
Among those planning to attend is Childersburg’s Linda Machen and her daughter, Tiffany. Linda is an associate at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama. She and Tiffany know firsthand the benefit of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Tiffany was stricken with a malignant brain tumor just weeks before her 16th birthday.
“Like so many people, I never imagined that my daughter’s world of dancing, dating and dreaming about the future would be turned upside down by cancer,” Machen said. “Tiffany has traveled a long road to recovery and she is a survivor. I am so proud of her. She has been through more than anyone should have to endure.”
Shortly after the beginning of the year in 2002, Tiffany started complaining of headaches. Although more often than not, the headaches were cured by some simple pain reliever, on the morning of Feb. 7, 2002, Machen received some news that would change her life forever.
“That day, in addition to her headache, she was sick at her stomach and her vision was blurred,” Machen said. “Call it mother’s intuition, but something in her voice that morning scared me.”
After being rushed to the emergency room in Sylacauga, Machen was informed that Tiffany would need emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor. Tiffany was diagnosed with Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma, a very rare but treatable cancer.
During the next 14 months, Tiffany faced 19 rounds of chemotherapy with hospital stays of three and four days at a time. Two months after her final treatment, Tiffany had a reoccurrence and this time stayed more than 50 days in the hospital for treatment.
Machen said she has shared her story in order to generate support for the Ride for Kids event and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
Tiffany’s physician, Dr. Alyssa Reddy, is a neuro-oncologist at Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital and has received research support from funds raised through Ride for Kids events.
“The funds raised during this Sunday’s ride will support the national grant program for physicians such as Dr. Reddy to conduct medical research for new and improved therapies for children with brain tumors,” Machen said. “I can’t say enough about Dr. Reddy and the team of doctors, nurses and staff at Children’s. They are wonderful people with a great support system for both children and parents.”