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Motocross riders in Ringgold racing to help St. Jude

About 125 motocross riders will rev their engines in a race to help find a cure for childhood cancer Sunday, Feb. 24 in Ringgold.

“It’s exciting to see somebody jump that high on a ramp in motocross,” said Greg Heard, a Rossville resident who is helping organize the event.

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Rossville residents Kelly Heard, left, and her husband, Greg, invite the public to the Battle Creek MX St. Jude Benefit Race Sunday, Feb. 24 in memory of their late son Cody, who lives on through the motocross fundraiser that benefits St. Jude Children’s Hospital, where he received treatment.

The Battle Creek Motocross St. Jude Benefit Race is in memory of his son, Cody, and is being held at 625 Scruggs Road in Ringgold behind Costco. Gates open at 8 a.m. with practice at 10 a.m. and the race starting at 11 a.m.

“Our goal in life is to help St. Jude help more children like Cody,” said his mom, Kelly Heard. “Every little bit raised helps.”

According to her and her husband, the fundraiser’s first event collected $5,500 for St. Jude in 2012.

“The daily operating cost for St. Jude Children’s Hospital is $1.8 million,” said Greg Heard. “The campus has 2.5 million square feet of research, clinical and administrative space dedicated to finding cures and saving children’s lives.”

The hospital has 7,800 active patients annually, he said, and sees 260 patients per day. If a child survives cancer and relapses as an adult, St. Jude continues to treat them too.

Motocross dirt bike racers from children to teens will take on the looping dirt track in memory of Cody, who at age 5 passed away in May 1999 after having battled cancer since age 2.

At last year’s race the Heard family sold 300 hot dogs and 300 hamburgers from a concession stand on-site to benefit St. Jude. This year the concession stand will sell hamburgers, hot dogs, pinto beans, cornbread, baked goods and chips.

Autographed swag from champion riders will be auctioned off at the event to also benefit the hospital and its patients. Items up for grabs include a jersey from Supercross champion Trey Canard, a poster signed by motocross gold medalist Travis Pastrana and a private dinner with world-famous freestyle motocross champion “Cowboy” Kenny Bartram.

“Owner of Battle Creek Motocross Track, Darrel Lynn, approached us about having a motocross benefit in memory of Cody,” said Greg Heard. “We’re happy that people remember Cody. We never want to forget him and we want his brother to remember him too. All Cody knew was going to the hospital.”

“Some people never meet their hero, I gave birth to mine,” said Kelly Heard. “Support childhood cancer awareness. We miss you, Cody Tyler Heard.”

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