HAZARD — Fallen Kings are indeed bikers with hearts. The group has organized many events recently to benefit local causes, especially causes involving children. On Saturday, Aug. 27, Fallen Kings will once again answer the call to lend a helping hand with two events that are intended to bring joy to a couple of children in our area.
The “Ride for DJ” will take place Saturday afternoon to benefit DJ Williams, a 9 year old boy from Perry County with Radial Dysplasia and Muscular Atrophy. DJ’s conditions cause muscle deterioration, which creates great hindrances in performing day to day activities that most people take for granted. Maintaining balance while walking, especially in situations such as stair climbing, is a dangerous challenge for DJ. Extreme tightening of the muscles has led to the need for braces on both of DJ’s legs. Picking up objects can also be a troubling task for DJ, as he has a deformity to his arm.
In May, DJ received news that he might soon make a new friend; a friend who is willing to stand by his side and help him perform tasks that will improve the quality of his daily life. The friend is a service dog named Parker. However, gaining approval to own an officially trained service dog is only the first step toward uniting DJ with his new friend. Paying for Parker is the most difficult part of the process. Official service dogs cost between 10 and 15 thousand dollars. This is where Fallen Kings come into the picture.
“Some of the fallen kings are our friends,” said DJ’s father, Tommy Williams, “But to be honest, they contacted me with this project already planned. That goes to show you how great these people are. DJ is scheduled to receive his service dog, Parker, some time in April, which we travel to Owensboro every 2 weeks for him to undergo training at the facility, which he is getting the dog from. Parker would be such a great benefit to DJ, in the sense that he would have more independence, helping him to keep his balance when walking, due to him wearing braces on both legs. The atrophy he has makes it difficult sometimes. Parker can pick up objects for DJ, which he is unable to do at times, and Parker will open doors for him and pull his wheelchair that he needs to use from time to time. Parker will even be able to help carry his backpack to school.”
The “Ride for DJ” will begin in the parking lot of Hazard City Hall on Saturday, Aug. 27, with registration opening at 3:00 p.m. and kickstands going up at 4:00 p.m. The fee is $15 per bike and $5 per passenger. The ride ends in Leslie County at the Nixon Center, where the Fallen Kings Leslie Co Chapter will be hosting a bike night event with all donations and proceeds from that event going to Ricky Barger, a child with Severe Aplastic Anemia. There is no cost to enter the bike night event but there will be games, contests, fun for children, live music and concessions.
Anyone, who would like to help out the causes, but cannot participate in the ride, is welcome to come during registration and drop off a donation. A Go Fund Me page has also been setup for DJ Williams. Earlier this month, McDonald’s in Hazard held a fundraiser for DJ and Parker, which raised about $2,000 in the effort to bring the two friends together.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.