Berlin resident Rich Landry spent most of 2007 in Wisconsin at the UW-Madison Hospital, recovering from heart transplant surgery. “My baton of life came from a woman in her thirties. I never found out her name, so I called her ‘Dorothy’ because I was now the Tin Man living with a heart,” said Landry.
“I came up with Dorothy’s Ride as a way to celebrate this unknown woman’s generosity, along with the generosity of countless thousands of individuals who donate their organs and tissue so that others, often unknown to them, may live a better life or, as in my case, live at all.
“We need more organ and tissue donors, including living donations such as kidneys and livers, as well as the organs after a person passes away and no longer has a need for them,” Landry noted.
The ride is also being held to increase the motorcycle community’s awareness of the problems of diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure). “We’ll have glucose and blood-pressure-testing equipment available for the riders. Many people have diabetes and high blood pressure and aren’t aware of it. These conditions can lead to heart problems, strokes, kidney and other organ diseases and dysfunction. Donor registration cards will be available to make it easy for bikers to sign up as organ donors.”
The ride is set to make history, as the first ride to benefit the health and well being of motorcyclists as well as five national charities – the University of Wisconsin Medical Schools for Research on Heart Disease and Transplantation, the American Diabetes Association, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which is the transplant coordinating committee for the USA, a fund for downed riders and veterans and an as yet to be determined charity of the local ride committee’s choosing.
“Our goal is to fill our history with years of success stories, and donations to create a better future,” Landry said. “Next year, the aim is to take Dorothy’s Ride to Wisconsin, where I had my transplant. For 2013, the next stop will be Nashville, TN, where they jerked me out of the grave three days in a row. I would like to have at least one Dorothy’s Ride in each state.”
Sunday’s registration takes place at Berlin High School from 9 a.m. to 11:15 am. Fees are $25 for riders and $15 for passengers. The 50-mile parade ride will take approximately two hours and finishes at the Cadillac Ranch in Southington.