Motorcycle ride to benefit boy with leukemia set for March 15

Published 4:59 pm Friday, February 28, 2014

Four-year-old Joshua Hayes of Jemison will receive one of his birthday presents early this year.

On March 15, four days before Hayes’ 5th birthday, the Grave Diggers chapter of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club will host a ride to raise money for Hayes, who is battling leukemia.

The ride, called “Ride for a Cure,” will depart from Thorsby Drugs in Thorsby at 11 a.m. and will include a brief stop at Beeswax River Park before ending at the Grave Diggers clubhouse in Shelby County.

Registration is $20 per bike and starts at 10 a.m. at Thorsby Drugs.

“We are asking all riders to show their support for the Hayes family on March 15,” Chapter President Webb “Spyder” Ellison said. “All proceeds are going to the family. We want to make his birthday one he won’t forget.”

Joshua is the son of Christa and Jeremy Hayes and was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia July 5, 2013.

“It basically means his white blood cells are cancerous,” Christa Hayes said.

Prior to Joshua’s diagnosis, Christa said he had frequent “fever viruses,” pallor due to anemia (a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to supply oxygen to tissues) and began having severe pain from the enlargement of his liver and spleen.

Christa said Joshua goes at least once a week, sometimes every other day, to Children’s in Birmingham for treatments.

The family’s expenses associated with Joshua’s treatments and traveling to and from the clinic week after week continue to mount.

“It’s a 100-mile round trip every time,” she said. “We’re just so blessed that somebody wants to do this for him and that so many people are willing to come together to help us in our situation. It means the world to him.”

Christa said Joshua plans to be at Thorsby Drugs during registration for the ride March 15 to meet riders before they depart.

“Provided he’s feeling up to it, he will be here,” she said. “I can’t say enough about how blessed we are and how it touches me that they’re doing this for us.”

Ellison said his group has held several rides in the past to help others in need.

“We do our best to help children and anybody else that needs any help,” Ellison said. “We hope to make this one of the biggest runs that we’ve done. This is about this 4-year-old; it’s not about us.”

Although this is the first ride the chapter has hosted in Chilton County, the chapter plans to make Joshua’s ride an annual event.

“He needs the help,” Ellison said. “He’s 4 years old, and he hasn’t even had a chance to start living yet.”

Ellison emphasized that the ride is open to all riders, and anyone who doesn’t want to participate in the ride may still give a donation for Joshua and his family.

“This family needs the help,” Ellison said. “Any donations are welcome.”

For more information or to register for the ride before March 15, contact Ellison at (205) 453-2020 or chapter vice president Mike “Barkeep” Roegner at (205) 705-8147.