What started as an ambitious 50th birthday motorcycle trip has, 10 years later, turned into a major fundraiser for children treated at a Columbus hospital.
A group of motorcyclists called the Miracle Riders on Thursday presented their single largest gift of money raised in 2018 — $100,000 — to Piedmont Columbus Regional for a neonatal transport incubator.
The annual Ride for Miracles started in 2009 when Scott Ressmeyer decided to ride through the 48 contiguous states to celebrate his 50th birthday and raise money for the Children’s Hospital at Midtown Medical Center.
Over the next six years, 29 other motorcyclists joined the rides, collectively raising more than $1 million for pediatric services at the hospital. The riders broadened their efforts in 2016, establishing Scott’s Ride Fund in the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley. They have raised for than $339,000 for the fund. All riders pay their own expenses.
“In the past decade no one has been a better friend to babies and children in Columbus than Scott and the Miracle Riders,” said Dr. David Levine of Neonatology Associates of Columbus.
On Thursday, Ressmeyer announced the $100,000 gift at Piedmont’s Midtown Campus. He also announced the next ride is scheduled for May 2020, and they hope to raise enough money to purchase a new neonatal transport ambulance.
“It’s only because our community stands behind the hospital, stands behind these doctors, stands behind us, and believes in the stories that we tell when we’re out on the road,” Ressmeyer said.
The incubator will be used by the hospital’s neonatal transport team. It’s portable, customizable, and provides protection from the environment, possible infections, noise and drafts, the hospital said. It has a ventilator, temperature controls, and provides blood pressure and cardio/respiratory monitoring.
“It will provide us with the ability to bring babies from as far as we can go to fetch them and keep them warm, and ventilate them, and provide all their needs as we bring them from wherever to Piedmont,” said Levine said.
During the ceremony, the Miracle Riders dedicated the new incubator in memory of Craig “Lee” Chaddock, brother-in-law of Dr. Maurice “Jerry” Chen, a local neonatologist.
“Although he was in your lives only for a short time, it’s heartwarming to know that he was able to make a lasting impression,” Chen said.
The 2018 Ride for Miracles also benefited the following:
▪ Feeding the Valley ($500)
▪ Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy ($5,000)
▪ Methodist Home for Children and Youth ($20,000)
▪ Open Door Community House ($3,000)
▪ Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Georgia Chapter ($2,000)