If all good things must come to an end, as the saying goes, it can be comforting when that ending arrives on a wave of success — as the Philip Mappa Memorial Ride has done.
Every year since 2012, an entourage of motorcycles and other vehicles has roared out of Mount Airy on the way to some picturesque destination in the region, for the purpose of aiding a charitable cause. This year the fundraising campaign was dedicated to Riley Voss, a 5-year-old boy with an inoperable brain tumor.
But last Saturday’s ride was the last in the six-year run of the event named for Philip Mappa, a Mount Airy resident who was claimed by lung cancer in 2011 at age 60.
“It was sad,” Judy Mappa, who was married to Mappa, said Friday of the final stanza of the ride that has sought to continue her husband’s public-service legacy of devoting countless hours to scouting, Habitat for Humanity and other causes.
Increasing family demands among Judy Mappa’s children with smaller kids, who have helped her spearhead the ride each year, have made them less able to assist with all the planning and coordination involved with the event.
The good news regarding the final ride last Saturday was the $1,900 it raised on behalf of Riley Voss, who has a DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma) brain tumor that cannot be removed through surgery.
Calling it “a huge success,” Judy Mappa said 56 motorcycles were part of the procession that included members of the Enforcers and Chariots of Fire biker groups.
The funds were generated through riders paying a fee to participate, with others who didn’t actually make the trip invited to contribute money to aid Riley. The event also included a silent auction and door prizes.
Participants gathered at Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday morning for a journey to Stone Mountain State Park and then back to the park, where members of Boy Scout Troop 553 had a meal ready for the returnees. Philip Mappa had been a leader of that troop for many years as well as a local Cub Scout pack.
In addition to Riley Voss, the Philip Mappa Memorial Ride benefited others during its tenure through the raising of nearly $10,000, including this year’s tally.
The 2016 ride aided two people battling cancer, Stacy Young Gunter and “Fish” McCraw, while also providing school supplies for Flat Rock Elementary.
Other past beneficiaries have included Mountain Valley Hospice.
Judy Mappa said she is grateful to all those who have supported the ride since 2012, and hinted that last Saturday’s event might not represent the absolute end.
“We may do an anniversary ride in the future,” she explained.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.