Home Local News Despite rain canceling ride, Project Taylor fundraiser exceeds prior year’s total

Despite rain canceling ride, Project Taylor fundraiser exceeds prior year’s total

ROCKINGHAM — With the last part of her young life being treatments at the North Carolina Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill for acute myeloid leukemia, Taylor Stewart had one last wish: to make sure other children who were fighting cancer would have toys and gifts brought to them in hopes to bring them a moment of joy.

The cancer that Taylor fought isn’t very common in children; she lost her battle in 2012 at the age of 14.

It took a while to get her wish going, but in 2019, Hide-A-Way Tavern owner Chris Sachs wanted to make it happen and discussed his idea with Taylor’s mother, Lorrie Stewart.

“With people donating most toys during the Christmas holidays, Taylor’s last wish was to make sure all the children in the cancer center also had toys during the spring and summer too,” Stewart said. “When the toys are brought to them, they get so excited.”

Taylor’s wish then became a reality, and the first motorcycle ride fundraiser took place. This year marked the fourth year for the fundraiser.

The event has traditionally been held in September but was moved up this year to Saturday, April 1. The fundraiser not only benefited the child cancer patients at Chapel Hill Hospital in Stewart’s memory, but it was also dedicated to Sachs, who lost his own battle with pancreatic cancer in January.

This year’s ride didn’t take place due to the rain, but that didn’t stop everyone from coming out to show their support.

Numerous local businesses donated many items for a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle, door prizes, and a live auction in which Jamie Watson was the auctioneer.
“I helped Chris last year when he was on chemotherapy and didn’t have much energy. Lorrie asked me to do it again this year,” said Watson. He also mentioned that he would be helping to organize the Special Olympics rides that Sachs had organized.

Watson helps promote motorcycle rides in Richmond County as well as all surrounding counties.

The event began at 1 p.m. as Lorrie’s nephew Nick Allen, associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Troy, opened in prayer. There was plenty of food for all who attended. A mouth-watering charcuterie board with a wide variety of finger foods welcomed all. The board was created and set up by Boards by Pey along with the help of Nic Wilkes. Godfather’s Pizza also donated eight large pizzas.

Kayren Brantley, a retired pharmacist, donated numerous homemade items. Brantley dedicates a large amount of her time making homemade soaps, lip balms, and leather/wood cleaner to donate solely to help with fundraisers.

The live auction began at 3:30 with hundreds of items to auction off as well as some humorous entertainment.


“The auction was funny; it is fun to watch as they all try to outbid each other,” said Stewart.

The fundraiser’s last total count was $6,702, with more donations still arriving; exceeding last year’s total by $1,200.

Click here to read last year’s story.

“I want to thank all the volunteers that helped me with this event; all the folks that donated items, gift cards, food, and baked goods,” Stewart said. “A special thanks to Jamie Watson for all his help as well as Felicia Sachs for letting us hold the event at the Hide-A-Way Tavern each year. Also, I’m always thankful for our guardian angels — Taylor Stewart and Chris Sachs.”

The ride to benefit Richmond County Special Olympics is scheduled for Saturday, May 6.

The ride was started in 2009 by late bar owner Buddy Roebuck and Sachs, who bought the property following Roebuck’s death, carried on the tradition “because the Special Olympics meant a lot to him.” Nearly $30,000 combined was raised through rides in 2019, 2021 and 2022. The ride was canceled in 2020.

Anyone interested in donating toys or wanting more information can reach Lorrie Stewart at 910-331-9990 or visit the Project Taylor Facebook page.

William R. Toler contributed to this story.

Correction: Jamie Watson will be helping to organize the Special Olympics ride. 11:17 a.m. 4-6-23

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