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Bikers to ride in honor of young girl with Down Syndrome

Richmond County Daily Journal - 3/22/2019

March 22-- Mar. 22--ROCKINGHAM -- A group of bikers will ride in honor of one of their unofficial members who has Down syndrome on Saturday at the first annual Saddle Up Ride for Down Syndrome.

Jay Verde, a member of the Independent Riders of Richmond County, has been riding in benefit rides for autism and the Special Olympics for years but has never done one specifically to benefit Down syndrome, which his daughter, Ashlee, has. The proceeds from the ride will go toward the Sandhills Children's Center -- where Ashlee goes for therapy -- though Verde said in the future it will go toward Down syndrome-specific organizations.

"I want to do this primarily because I want to raise awareness about Down syndrome," Verde said. "There's not a lot of information out there ... people talk a lot about autism but know very little about Down."

The riders, of which Verde expects at least 30, will meet at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 23 for registration at Casey's Cove, located at 204 Pinetop St. in Rockingham, and kickstands will go up at 1:30 p.m. There will be an auction, T-shirts and chicken plates for sale, a 50-50 drawing and door prizes at the ride.

Those interested in donating can call Casey's at 910-817-7982.

The riders will start at Casey's Cove, take Cartledge Creek Road up to U.S. 73, take 73 to U.S. 220 and up to Windblow, take Derby Road to the BP station in Hoffman, where they will take a 15 to 20-minute break, get back on U.S. 1 until they get to Long Drive, stop at the Moose Lodge and head back to Casey's, according to Verde.

Verde said Ashlee, 9, has been in the "bar scene" for about two years hanging out with him and his biker friends, who she always hugs when she sees them. He and his daughter will have a Mountain Dew and a bag of chips while they play pool, and someone will turn on the jukebox for her to dance to.

Ashlee will ride with her father Saturday.

"She loves motorcycles -- she's definitely a biker chick," Verde said. "She knows that bikers are people she can always turn to."

Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]


(c)2019 the Richmond County Daily Journal (Rockingham, N.C.)

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