LaGRANGE — Normally, a motorcycle club and a 3-year-old little girl would not have a lot of things in common, but then many people may not have met Maylee Highland.
The tenacious LaGrange toddler is as strong and determined as any gruff motorcycle rider — especially since she is in the fight for her life. The 3 year old was recently diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
The members of the Defiant Crew Motorcycle Club have opened their hearts and arms to the little girl and her family. The group is hosting a benefit ride and fundraiser Oct. 10. All of the proceeds will go to Maylee and her parents.
Maylee “was at a birthday party on a Saturday that my wife and child were also at, … then on that following Monday she was diagnosed with leukemia,” said Michael Bartlett, a member of Defiant Crew MC and friend of the Highland family. “To see any child or family go through something like that, you want to do anything you can to help them out.”
Bartlett is helping to organize the Ride for Maylee fundraiser, which will involve a 45-mile journey for all registered motorcycles, trucks and any other vehicles starting 11 a.m. Oct. 10 at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church, 101 N. Davis Road.
The Defiant Crew MC is also pre-selling barbecue plates, which may be ordered from Bartlett or at Pizza Villa, 1399 Lafayette Parkway. Plates also will be on sale during the fundraiser.
Bartlett said tickets will be on sale for a 50/50 raffle, plus a silent auction that will feature items from local boutiques and stores.
“One of the benefits of our motorcycle club is that we have a national affiliation,” Bartlett explained. “So we’re getting donations in from Miami, Florida, to New York, New York. It really helps out.”
This is the Defiant Crew MC’s first benefit ride in LaGrange. Bartlett said another chapter of the club organized one a few months ago in Carrollton for another cancer foundation. That group raised close to $6,000 during that event.
Organizers have not set a monetary goal for Maylee’s ride, they just hope to raise enough funds to help make a difference. Bartlett said all the money will be given directly to the Highlands to use as needed, whether that means paying bills, filling up their gas tank for the trips back and forth to Atlanta, where Maylee receives treatments, or medical expenses.
“This is a tough situation. I can’t imagine it being my child,” Bartlett stated. “I would just hope someone or some organization would help my family in time of need, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re stepping up and helping them out in their time of need.”
Registration for Ride for Maylee starts at 10 a.m. at Trinity on the Hill. The cost is $20 for all vehicles and $5 for passengers.
Barbecue plates will be ready for pickup at noon at the church and will be on sale throughout the afternoon. Cost for plates is $8 and the price for a 50/50 raffle ticket is $1. T-shirts and wristbands will also be on sale.
Anyone wishing to make a donation, pre-order barbecue plates and raffle tickets, or wanting more information may contact Bartlett at 706-594-8322 or stop by his business, Pizza Villa.
Folks can also find more information on the Defiant Club’s Facebook page “RIDE FOR MAYLEE- Hosted by the Defiant Crew MC.”
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter at LaGrange Daily News. She may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.