Disturbing images of enraged bikers attacking an innocent family are the first thoughts to come to mind when the term biker is used lately. Much like the bad apple in every batch, that story is fortunately more the exception than the norm. Biker groups from the Sumter area (Bikers Against Breast Cancer, Cycle Queens M.C., and The Dogg Pound) united with Have Faith Community Development this past weekend to create some good news. The third annual benefit to support Birdie’s Nesting Place was held on Saturday. For this event, the only law enforcement presence was a full police escort for the 100 motorcycles who participated in the ride from Sumter to Alcolu.
Birdie’s Nesting Place was the vision of Roberta Leader who wanted to create a place of solace for cancer patients. At the nesting place, patients would cease to be patients. Within those walls, cancer would be forgotten. Volunteers would pamper visitors with the opportunity to relax and indulge in long-forgotten luxuries. Roberta, also known as Birdie knew few cancer patients would feel comfortable splurging on themselves if it meant leaving family members with even a few more dollars of financial burden. She understood patients felt cancer robbed them of the freedom to feel normal. As a cancer patient herself, Birdie had a different dream for the victims of cancer—the dream of a guiltless place to escape and feel special. Roberta passed away before Birdie’s Nesting Place could become a reality, so her siblings Dwayne and Faith Johnson committed to finish the job.
Along the way, Debra Missouri of Bikers Against Breast Cancer joined the cause and introduced the Johnson family to a different kind of biker. The good news bikers use their own resources to participate in events from which they gain nothing more than the satisfaction of helping. Saturday’s event was the culmination of multiple organizations working together in harmony to orchestrate an event that would not be covered on CNN or reported widely in the news. The majority of the images from the ride to support Birdie’s Nesting Place are memories for the participants. The reward was helping people they may never meet on behalf of a woman they’d never met. Folks, that’s good news.