ROCKINGHAM — Two days after World Down Syndrome Day, a local club is sponsoring a benefit ride.
Casey’s Cove is hosting the inaugural ride Saturday in honor of 9-year-old Ashlee Verde, daughter of Jay and Jessie Verde, who has Down syndrome, with proceeds going to Sandhills Children’s Center.
“Very few people know about Down syndrome, so I want to do some awareness,” Jay Verde said Friday, adding that there are “so many levels” of functionality of those afflicted with the disorder.
He said Sandhills Children’s Center does “a phenomenal job” with the special needs kids in its care.
When Ashlee first started going, her father said she had trouble eating and sitting up but improved by “leaps and bounds” after attending the center.
“This is my way of giving back,” he said.
Registration opens at 11 a.m. — $15 for single riders, $20 for doubles — and kickstands will go up at 1:30 p.m. Ashlee will be riding with her dad, leading the pack.
The route will take riders up Cartlege Creek Road to N.C. 73, then east to Derby Road and back down U.S. 1. The convoy will then turn down Long Drive and make a stop at the Moose Lodge before heading back to Casey’s Cove on Pinetop Street.
Jay Verde, who is a member of the Independent Riders of Richmond County, said there will be members of several of the county’s motorcycle and riding clubs participating.
In addition to the ride, there will be chicken plates sold for $7, and T-shirts will be available. There will also be an auction, a 50/50 drawing and door prizes.