Friday, April 18, 2014
After he peddled the last stroke on the last leg of the five-day bicycle ride across the state, it was time to celebrate. The hugs did not end until more than an hour later.
Scotty Parker, 10, knows that some kids don’t have safe drinking water and die from water-related diseases. He wanted to do something about it.
This year, instead of having a regular 10th birthday, the Hanahan Elementary School student decided to ride his bicycle across South Carolina on spring break to raise money for Water Missions International.
The ride began in Greenville on Sunday, April 13, his 10th birthday. It ended April 17 after going through Summerville and Goose Creek and into the Water Missions International building in North Charleston near the former Naval Shipyard.
The campaign was called “Scotty’s Ride For Water.” His goal was to raise $25,000. The ride ended up raising $62,951. One anonymous donor matched the donations once the $25,000 goal was reached.
“Every 21 seconds a child dies from water-related disease,” Scotty said. “I don’t know about you, but as a kid who has all the water he wants to drink, shower as long as I want and even have clean water in the toilet I use, this made me sad and hurt my heart bad.”
The 218-mile ride took place in daily segments of about 50 miles a day. He rode through Greenville, Simpsonville, Clinton, Irmo, Orangeburg, Summerville, and through Goose Creek, Hanahan and North Charleston.
Hundreds of people gathered in the Water Missions International warehouse to cheer Scotty and the other approximately 40 other riders in blue shirts as they ended the ride and pulled into the building.
Along the ride he and others endured wind, cold, rain and hills.
His father Steve Parker said Scotty trained for 525 miles. Parker said he did not ride the entire route, but his son and wife Pam Parker did. Some riders rode in segments and some rode along for one day.
The core riders stayed all week. There were cheerleaders at five and 10-mile intervals along the way. On the 50-mile days riders stopped for lunch at the 20-mile mark.
The final day’s ride was 17.25 miles.
The riders received an escort from the Goose Creek Police Department and the Hanahan Police Department.
“There was not one negative word all week,” Steve Parker said. “We were happy just to be together to enjoy the moment. It’s just a short ride. Let’s work together.”
Parker said he thanks the cities of Goose Creek and Hanahan for the escort. He said GCPD Lt. Shawn Crafton coordinated this.
Parker said Scotty got the idea from Northwoods Church (an interdenominational church) at Carnes Crossroads. Each March is the church’s missions month. Scotty’s 8th birthday was water-missions themed. They have events like a relay race to fill a five-gallon bucket of water with teaspoons to show how difficult it is to transport water.
He took donations instead of gifts and raised $600 for Water Missions International.
“For his 10th birthday he wanted to step it up and run across the state,” Parker said. “We said he could ride. This goes to show that sometimes you need to listen to your kids and the Holy Spirit. It’s been a wonderful week.”