web1_Gracie

Ride to benefit child with cancer

Emily Webb

Daily News intern

Gracie Atkinson, shown in this undated photo provided by her family, has been diagnosed with liver cancer. A benefit, Ride for Gracie, to help her family pay for treatment is set Saturday starting at noon at Diverse Power and ending on Long Cane Access Road, where there will be live music, games and raffles.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_Gracie.jpgGracie Atkinson, shown in this undated photo provided by her family, has been diagnosed with liver cancer. A benefit, Ride for Gracie, to help her family pay for treatment is set Saturday starting at noon at Diverse Power and ending on Long Cane Access Road, where there will be live music, games and raffles. Contributed

LaGRANGE — Eight-year-old Gracie Atkinson spent two years seeing doctors for consistent stomach pains before a diagnosis on Feb. 1 finally confirmed the cause.

“It ripped my whole world apart,” said Summer Smith, Gracie’s mom. “It’s the worst thing a mother could ever hear.”

Gracie was diagnosed with liver cancer. She is currently undergoing aggressive chemotherapy treatments to attack the stage IV cancer cells.

“She has her good days and her bad days,” said Tammy Williams, a friend of the family.

“She’s fighting. It’s a roller coaster,” said Smith. “She has sickness from chemo and trauma from the surgeries. It’s emotionally hard, losing hair and adjusting to hospital life.”

Gracie can’t qualify for a liver transplant until all the cancer cells are killed.

As a way to help, supporters have organized the Ride for Gracie on Saturday, which will benefit Gracie and her family as they pay for treatment.

Gracie is excited for the event, her mom said.

“She can’t wait,” Smith said. “It’s put a lot of spirit in her to see the community and support she’s getting.”

Registration for the ride starts 11 a.m. at Diverse Power on 1400 South Davis Road. Cost to register a vehicle is $25, which includes a passenger and two food plates.

The ride is sponsored by Troup County Motorcycle Coalition, which includes all local motorcycle clubs and riding clubs.

“This is what this community does (support others) — even if you don’t know people,” said Bridget Cosper, one of the event’s coordinators.

The event has brought in more than just locals. They’ve gotten interest from groups in Jasper and Roanoke, Alabama.

“The more, the merrier,” said Williams.

The ride will end with festivities at 56 Long Cane Access Road. Entry to this event is $10. Additional food plates will be sold for $5.

Local bands including Smokey Road, King Pound, Into the Further and others will perform at the event. The first band is expected to start at 1 p.m.

Children can play on a bounce house and different games will be set up. Items like gift certificates, cornhole games and a YETI Cooler will be available for raffle or auction. Team Gracie T-shirts will also be available for $20.

Anyone interested in donating items or purchasing shirts may visit Salon J on Lafayette Parkway and talk to Sandy Smith, Jessica Stafford or Nikki Bartlett. CharterBank has set up a medical fund for donations.

For more information, see Facebook page “Ride for Gracie” or call organizers at 706-302-8837, 706-594-8653, 706-616-2298 or 706-616-2299.

YOU CAN HELP

The Ride for Gracie is set for noon on Saturday, March 5, in the Diverse Power parking lot, 1400 S. Davis Road. Registration begins at 11 a.m. Donation to ride is $25 and covers one passenger and two food plates; additional plates are $5. Children’s activities and band performances are set at 56 Long Cane Access Road about 1 p.m.; entry is $10 for nonriders.

Emily Webb is an intern at LaGrange Daily News and a LaGrange College student. Reach the LaGrange Daily News at 706-884-7311.