Thousands of people are in Harlan County tonight to enjoy the weather and explore the beauty of the mountains. But there is more going on than just a few folks riding around on ATVs. The Saint Jude Children's Fall Crawl is going on right now in Eastern Kentucky.
More than 4,000 ATV enthusiasts from 14 different states are visiting some of the mountain's trails, not only to promote adventure tourism, but also to raise money for kids that need it.
You throw some money in the pot, it's just a small donation, but for family receiving it, it can change their lives.
Sam Hughes says, “This is my son Jordan and he's a St. Jude patient and he's been a Saint Jude patient since 2004. He's had a brain tumor.”
ATV enthusiasts call it "the flip side of adventure tourism,” using what Kentucky has to offer to help others.
Tina Hughes, Jordan’s mother says, “I think if you live it, you'll know why it's so important.”
Preston Mclain, with Harlan County Ridge Runners ATV Club says, “Every penny made today will go for St. Jude Children's Research Hospitals. Last year we raised over $3,000 and we look to either match that or exceed that today.”
The Hughes family knows first hand why donating to St. Jude Children's Hospital is so important.
Sam Hughes says, “Since 2004 Jordan’s had three craniotomies total and he's had 63 radiation treatments and he's had a total of 110 GY of radiation.”
Tina and Sam's son Jordan was diagnosed when he 20 months old. He had a tumor the size of a lemon on the back of his brain.
Tina Hughes says, “To have a child that's sick is hard enough, but to have a child that's sick and have financial burden on the family just adds increased stress on the whole situation so to have fundraisers that help to avoid that, it's everything.”
Tina Hughes says the donations help St. Jude to never turn a sick child away. “They will fly you in, they'll put you up at a place to stay, give you money for food everyday, if your child needs medicine they'll get the medicine it at the pharmacy and they never have to worry about the financial burden of that.”
It's about putting all your focus on making sure your child gets healthy.
Jordan’s family says he is doing great and is now a normal, healthy six year old boy.