Harley riders make Acrista's dream come true
By REN LANZONnewsroom@gladstoneobserver.com.au
ACRISTA Dittman-Keogh can't believe her dream is about to come true.
A self-confessed motorbike enthusiast, Acrista has always wanted to take part in a large ride with a group of bike fanatics.
So what better expression of love for a Valentine's Day 16-year-old than to have the Gladstone region biking community organise a tour especially for her?
The Gladstone Harley Owners Group (HOGs) and the Ulysses Club will be joined by bikers from Bundaberg, Emerald, Rockhampton and other centres in between to help the cystic fibrosis sufferer celebrate her birthday.
While the ride has been organised for some time, Acrista was only told of the plans earlier this week.
The news was met with great surprise from Acrista who couldn't believe organisers had gone to so much trouble. She described it as 'a great surprise'.
Acrista described the surprise to The Observer as being similar to an earthquake of a magnitude of seven on the Richter scale.
'I want to thank everyone so much ? it's so scary that people think about me so much,' she said.
Acrista said she had been brought up among bikes. 'I'm going for my learner's (licence) and I'm saving up to buy a bike ? probably a little Virago ? the girls' Harley.'
Acrista's mother Colleen Keogh, herself a motorcycle rider, said she was grateful to the organisers for staging the event.
Organiser of the ride, HOG member Robyn Williams, said the event was to take place the day before St Valentine's Day on Sunday, February 13.
Gladstone area bike riders will meet in the rest area next to the Boyne River Bridge at Benaraby at 9.30am and take Acrista along the 10 Chain Road to Raglan Tavern to meet other riders for morning tea.
Then it's off to the Gladstone Yacht Club for lunch where each club will present Acrista with club T-shirts and gifts.
'This is not a fundraiser ? we're asking for nothing but that bike riders join us to do this for Acrista,'' Mrs Williams said.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder inherited from both parents. Mucus attacks the lungs and can only be relieved by physiotherapy. Eventually it attacks the liver and other body organs and is usually fatal.