An annual ride that has raised thousands of dollars for various charitable causes in recent years is headed to its last roundup.
The Philip Mappa Memorial Ride, which began in 2012, is scheduled to roll out from Mount Airy again next Saturday, but there could be a little sadness in the air along with the exhaust from motorcycles and other vehicles involved.
“This will be the last year,” Judy Mappa announced regarding the ride named for her late husband, who was claimed by lung cancer in 2011 at age 60. The itinerary calls for leaving Veterans Memorial Park at 11:30 a.m. Saturday for a trip to Stone Mountain and then back to the park on West Lebanon Street — an expected distance of just over 100 miles.
Members of the Enforcers and Chariots of Fire motorcycle clubs will be participating in Saturday’s event as they have previously, along with individual bikers, with Boy Scout Troop 553 of White Plains to also play a role.
Legacy of service
Philip Mappa was dedicated to public service, which included serving as a leader of Boy Scout Troop 553 and Cub Scout Pack 553 for 15 years and spending many summers working at Boy Scout Camp Raven Knob. An electrician by trade, Mappa also was a volunteer for the Habitat for Humanity organization who assisted in the building of 25 houses.
Since his death, his wife, children and their respective spouses have staged the annual run to continue his legacy of service.
“It’s just getting hard to do,” Judy Mappa said of organizing the annual ride. It has involved half-day or so treks to different locations in the region over its duration, primarily with motorcyclists participating but cars also welcome to be part of the procession in honor of its namesake.
Mappa said increasing family obligations among her children with smaller kids who help her spearhead the ride each year makes them less able to assist with all the planning and coordination required for even a one-day event.
“We don’t want to (end the ride), but it’s just hard for everyone to get together, and they don’t want to push it all on me,” she said of family members.
They want the annual event to go out in a big way.
To aid boy with tumor
Saturday’s last memorial ride will be dedicated to helping Riley Voss, a 5-year-old who has a DIPG brain tumor. A DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma) tumor cannot be removed through surgery.
“We would love to have everyone come out to help support this ride for Riley,” Judy Mappa added.
Money will be raised through paying a cost to be part of the ride, which is $20 for singles and $25 for doubles and cars.
“We will have door prizes, food and silent auction items — so please come and join us in supporting Riley,” Mappa urged.
Donations also can be made by persons who do not wish to take part in the ride itself, by calling David Mappa at 336-469-5408 or Judy Mappa, 336-710-8675.
Namesake would be “proud”
While the Philip Mappa Memorial Ride is coming to an end, his widow believes its mission has been fulfilled since being launched in 2012.
About $7,500 has been raised in all, she said, for cancer victims and other beneficiaries such as Mountain Valley Hospice.
In 2016, more than $1,000 was generated through the ride, which was split between two people battling cancer, Stacy Young Gunter and “Fish” McCraw.
“I’d say we’ve done good helping other people, and that was our main goal,” Judy Mappa said Friday of what has been accomplished over the years.
“Philip would be really proud of us,” she said.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.