Pedaling for miracles

Pedaling for miracles

May 24th, 2013 by Kate Harrison Belz in Sports - Professional

IF YOU GO

* What: Cycle for Miracles

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

* When: Saturday at 8 a.m.

* Where: Enterprise South Park

* To register: Go to www.usacycling.org. You can also register to be a volunteer by going to https://www.edgereg.com/registration/event/999.

* Cost: 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.

GET INVOLVED

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

Cycling 30 miles may make for an intense morning for Stephen Rucker. But this ride will be nothing compared to the 98 days he spent at his twin daughters' sides in the neonatal intensive care unit in the T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital at Erlanger.

His wife was just 26 weeks pregnant when the twins - Annie and Kate - arrived. They weighted only 1 pound, 2 ounces and 1 pound, 7 ounces.

Both infants needed extensive care to help bring them safely to their due date. Both required laser eye surgery. One twin needed heart surgery. Through the roller coaster of emotional highs and lows, Rucker said the staff became like a second family to both daughters and parents.

The girls went home in good health, and the family is still in touch with several of the staff from the NICU.

On Saturday Rucker will be cycling to help support the hospital that he says saved his daughters' lives.

"I'm sure they've got a great children's hospital in places like Vanderbilt and in Atlanta and Knoxville. But to have something of this caliber in the city of Chattanooga is a blessing," he said.

Erlanger's "Cycle for Miracles" ride at Enterprise South is being held in conjunction with the USA Cycling Professional Championships this weekend.

Money raised through registrations and sponsorships for the ride will go to benefit Children's Hospital, primarily the hospital's room renovation project.

Some professional cyclists will participate alongside community members. The rides will not be competitive, but participants will be entered to win a custom-fit M1 bicycle from Litespeed or a trip for two to Ireland.

Rucker is just looking forward to seeing his girls, now almost 5, cheering on the sidelines. Both are doing great.

"They're a little small on the growth chart, but they're perfect," he said.