published Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Bicyclists hope to fund miracles for T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital at Erlanger

Erlanger Hospital is located on 3rd Street in Chattanooga.
Erlanger Hospital is located on 3rd Street in Chattanooga.
Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

When: Saturday, May 25 at 8 a.m.

Where: Enterprise South Park

What: Cyclists can choose to pedal as individuals or as teams, and choose 5-, 30- or 60-mile rides

REGISTER

To register for Cycle for Miracles, go to www.usacycling.org. You can also register to be a volunteer by going to https://www.edgereg.com/registration/event/999.

Registration fees are $40 for the 15-mile, $50 for the 30-mile and $60 for the 60-mile rides until event day on May 25. Special incentives are available for individuals who raise money for Children's Hospital.

SUPPORT

For more information on the event, fundraising opportunities, volunteering or sponsoring a racer, call 423-778-2679 or visit www.cycleformiracles.org.

Four-year-old Grady Haddock is just learning how to ride a bike.

It was important to get Grady a bike early on, said his father, Erlanger South family physician Chris Haddock.

Haddock is a relatively new-but-enthusiastic cyclist who is eagerly anticipating the Volkswagen USA Pro Cycling Championships in Chattanooga over Memorial Day weekend.

But it's not just because Haddock is excited about seeing 200 professional cyclists tear through the Chattanooga region. He's thinking about Grady.

Haddock will be riding in honor of his son in Erlanger's "Cycle for Miracles" ride out at Enterprise South, planned in conjunction with the Volkswagen USA Pro Cycling Championships that weekend.

When Grady was born, he needed emergency surgery at T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital at Erlanger to help correct a digestive birth defect.

He was in the hospital's neonatal intentive care unit for about a week before he returned home, with no further complications.

"I know how much good that hospital does for kids every day," Chris Haddock said. "My son was treated there. I'm a doctor who was trained there. And I love cycling. I knew I definitely needed to do this ride."

Thousands of cyclists and fans are expected to wheel into Chattanooga during Memorial Day weekend for the national event. Erlanger Health System is medical sponsor for the championship races, providing on-the-ground assistance for the bikers and spectators. Haddock is actually on the planning committee.

"USA Pro Cycling and Erlanger wanted to create something for the weekend that was giving back to the community," explained Katie Jackson McCrory, development and events assistant for the hospital.

Some professional cyclists will be participating alongside community members, she added.

Money raised through the event will support Children's Hospital, and it could give a big boost to the hospital's room renovation project.

"Children's Hospital Foundation ensures caring for our smallest and most precious patients is our number-one priority," McCrory said. "We target specific projects, programs and equipment to better serve our patients, and never turn down a family based on ability to pay."

Haddock has biked in other charity rides, but as a doctor and father of a patient, this one is especially important to him.

"I'm trying to encourage everybody to get involved somehow, even someone who hasn't ridden bikes in a long time," he said.

The rides will not be competitive, but participants will be entered to win a custom-fit M1 bicycle from Litespeed or a VIP trip for two to the 2013 Tour de France.

Because Chattanooga will play host to the pro cycling championships for three years, Erlanger officials say, they expect Cycle for Miracles also will be an annual event for that long -- if not longer.

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