Every summer, the Utah ATV Association takes part in a thrilling adventure. They ride from Tooele, Utah, across abandoned high ways, over mountain terrain, and through the salt flats, all the way to Wendover, in an effort to raise funds to help grant the wishes of Utah children with life-threatening illnesses.
The ATV Ride for Life is a fundraiser held in behalf of Make-A-Wish Utah and is sponsored by the Utah ATV Association. They have helped sponsor wishes every summer for the last 11 years and have raised over $352,000, with more than $50,000 being raised in 2014.
“Once we did the first year with Make-A-Wish, we were so impressed with the organization and the impact it has in the community, we became volunteers with the organization,” said Kristi Keirce, director of the Ride for Life charity event.
This fundraiser benefits everyone that is a part of it. Not only do people get to do what they love, but they are also given the opportunity to see the impact they are making and how it helps grant wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.
“[The riders] help raise money, but meeting the wish kids gives them the firsthand experience to see the personal impact of granting a wish,” said Keirce. Along with understanding the benefit of this event, the riders get to enjoy their day. The riders are used to what they do, but doing it to benefit the children makes the experience much better.
“We just have a lot of fun. It means a lot to us that we are able to do something so good. I don’t think there is one rider that doesn’t feel the same impact that we do, because it is such an amazing organization,” Keirce said. Past sponsored wishes have ranged from sending wish children to the Florida theme parks, to giving someone their own roping arena, to granting wishes for their own ATV’s.
“We get to see what the child and family [are] going through, and we get to see the impact that Make-A-Wish has on their lives,” said Keirce. Last year, 17-year-old Tim, who is bravely battling cancer, wished to visit the Florida theme parks. With enthusiastic community involvement in the Ride for Life and the generosity of the Utah ATV Association, Tim’s wish was granted.
The charity event is more than just a fundraiser — it’s an occasion for everyone to gather on behalf of the lives of others, and enjoy the effects of their efforts while doing something they love. “Without community or rider support, we would never be able to get the money we do for Make-a-Wish,” Keirce said. “Time is as valuable as money, and everyone can volunteer.”