People 2 People April 16, 2018

VeloCity brings together a love for cycling and Grady

Over 800 people have already signed up for VeloCity Atlanta, far exceeding organizers’ first-year goal of 500 cyclists.  

Four routes -- in a range of lengths -- will all start from the field of Mercedes Benz Stadium. The 25, 50, and 100-mile routes will be led by police escort for the first several miles with the  routes fully supported with police escorts, rest stops along the way and emergency bike assistance.  The 5-mile City Ride will be on a closed course through downtown Atlanta. Registration ended Monday.

Renay Blumenthal, president of Grady Health Foundation, said while the Velocity is a fundraising event, she said the focus this year is creating a unique, fun experience and building enthusiasm for this event for years to come. 

“Grady really grew up with Atlanta,” said Blumenthal. “And Atlanta grew up with Grady. Grady is an Atlanta treasure. It not only takes care of the underserved but it also provides highly specialized care in trauma, stroke, burn services. . . We couldn’t get large events like the Super Bowl without having a level I trauma hospital.” 

The idea for the event came from Grady Health Foundation board member John Gregg who is president and CEO of Sun Trust Robinson Humphrey. Gregg, an avid cyclist, had seen other cities host city-wide cycling events and thought why not here in Atlanta? “And here we are 14 months later,” said Blumenthal. “And hopefully it will become part of the fabric of sporting events in Atlanta.”

Grady Memorial Hospital
Photo: WSB-TV

VeloCity is not just a ride, it’s a celebration that includes a pre-ride festival with live music on Friday (May 4) as well as plenty of food and drinks before and after the ride on Saturday – all at Georgia International Plaza, just steps outside of the stadium.

Cox Media Group, parent company of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is one of the sponsors of the cycling event.

Participating in the pre-ride party on Friday night is Dr. Melissa Parker, a doctor at Northside Hospital, and her 16-year-old son, William, who suffered a serious, life-threatening injury while playing football. 

Almost two years ago, William suffered a brain hemorrhage during a tackle in a middle school football game. William was playing in his team’s first 8th grade football game. 

Parker insisted her son, who was unconscious on the field, be rushed to Grady, a level 1 trauma center. At Grady, William underwent an immediate brain surgery and within a few hours, he was in a recovery room. By morning, he opened one eye and could motion with his left hand that he could hear his family. After a 24-hour stay at Grady, with stable vital signs on a ventilator, he was transferred to Egleston then Scottish Rite inpatient rehab. 

After missing the first half of his 8th grade year, William returned to school. He started 9th grade right on time, earning a 3.8 GPA his first semester back. 

“We truly believe it was a combination of faith and medicine that saved my life. And I will be forever grateful to everyone who helped me that day. There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be here if it were not for Grady Hospital,” said William during a recent Grady gala event.

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