PLATTSBURGH - Tom Wyand knows that if his son, Jeff, were here today, he'd be proud of the work done to help sick children through the Jeff Wyand Miracle Ride.
"But, he'd probably be a little embarrassed that the ride's in his name," said Wyand, who noted his son was a very modest person. "Jeff never really sought the spotlight. When he was sick, he was one of those kids that just wanted everyone to treat him like he was normal."
It was in December 2006 the Plattsburgh man lost his son to medulloblastoma - a common malignant childhood tumor that affects the central nervous system. Jeff was only 18 years old.
However, prior to his death, Jeff's father worked to form a motorcycle ride in 2001 to raise money to help the families of children who had cancer. "Biking for Miracles" continued after the Wyand family's tragic loss but adapted a new name in 2007 - the Jeff Wyand Miracle Ride.
Since its inception, the event has raised $330,000. Last year alone, the ride raised $53,000 and drew 800 riders. Eleven hundred people in all came out to support the event.
"It's close to everyone's hearts because it helps kids," said Wyand. "Everybody knows kids who are sick. And, everyone knows kids aren't supposed to go before the adults. I think that's why everyone supports the ride."
The ride has had several tweaks to its schedule and course over the years. Most notably, the ride changed from its starting point in Rouses Point to Ticonderoga, in order to encourage more riders to participate and give riders a change of scenery. This year, the starting point and ending point - which was typically the Naked Turtle - will change again.
"We're going to start the ride at Vermont Children's Hospital (in Burlington, Vt.) and end at Camp Ta-Kum-Ta in South Hero," said Wyand. "We wanted people to see where their hard work and money has gone to over the years."