BEDFORD, Va. – On Tuesday afternoon, hundreds gathered at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford for the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Revival.
For the last 25 years, the group of motorcycle riders has gone all over the country to raise money and awareness for a good cause.
“I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes in January of 2016,” Stephanie Wilkerson says.
Wilkerson is one of the millions of kids in the nation battling a chronic illness, but she’s one of the thousands who’ve had a life-changing experience at Victory Junction because of it.
“I loved it,” Wilkerson says.
Victory Junction is a camp dedicated to bringing joy to kids with serious medical illnesses.
“Sometimes we lose sight. People say, ‘Oh, they’re just riding motorcycles,’” Kyle Petty says. “No, we’re raising funds to send kids to camp.”
When former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty lost his son in 2000, he decided to shift gears. He and his team of riders strive to make sure that as many kids as possible have a chance to visit Victory Junction.
“It’s incredibly gratifying that these people still believe in this. After a couple of years, they still want to come back and send these kids to camp,” Petty says. “It’s so personal in so many ways.”
After taking a break during COVID, they’re back on the road for the Charity Ride Revival. On Tuesday, they made two pit stops.
Riders spent the majority of the day at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, but not before swinging by the elementary school to see a special group of fifth graders.
These fifth graders not only greeted the riders with a donation of $330, but with handwritten letters for the campers.
“I think what it teaches kids is that we can make a difference,” Petty says. “I think what it teaches adults is that sometimes we forget we can make a difference.”
To date, they’ve raised more than $19 million for Victory Junction and other children’s charities.