Saturday Supports Riley Hospital's Miracle Ride
INDIANAPOLIS – Jeff Saturday is used to being in the know and in control.
The Colts' 11-year veteran center has started 140 games in his NFL career and is one of the few people in the world who has any idea what quarterback Peyton Manning is doing before the snap of the ball.
But when his infant son, Joshua, was burned in an accident three months shy of his first birthday, Saturday—as any parent would be—was at a loss on what to do.
"As a parent, seeing your child suffer any type of pain is heartbreaking," Saturday said. "When you are in that situation you will do anything in the world to help your child, but you feel helpless."
Saturday and his wife, Karen, took Joshua to Riley Hospital where the doctors and nurses made all the correct calls in helping the youngest of the couple's three children.
"The doctors and nurses were unbelievable," Saturday said. "I was frantic, my wife was the calm one, but everybody at the hospital was supportive of us and let us know what we needed to do."
Joshua, thanks to the staff at Riley Hospital, ultimately made a full recovery and Saturday knew that he and his family would become very involved with the hospital.
As fate would have it, Saturday already had become part of one of Riley Hospital's biggest fundraisers, the Miracle Ride, before Joshua was born.
"I got involved when I was going to buy my first motorcycle here in Indianapolis," Saturday said. "I was in my safety class and the guys who gave it were big supporters of the ride. I started attending after I got my license and have been on a number of rides."
The three-time Pro Bowl starter has been a spokesman for the Miracle Ride (this year being held from May 29-31) since 2004, and an honorary chair since 2006. The event which has been held annually since 1994, has raised more than $2.35 million for Riley Hospital.
"Miracle Ride has become an annual tradition for motorcycle enthusiasts and Riley Hospital patients alike, as well as one of the largest charitable events in Indiana," Jason Mueller, communications manager for Riley Children's Foundation, said. "Each year, Riley patients eagerly anticipate the parade of more than 7,000 motorcycles riding past the Riley Outpatient Center. This success is a tribute to Miracle Ride leadership, generous sponsor support and devoted participants like Jeff Saturday. Every year, Jeff inspires people to get involved to help raise funds for Riley Hospital for Children."
For Saturday, it has been a fun event and an experience that he has even gotten to share with his teammates. Current Colts Ryan Diem, Dan Federkeil, Ryan Lilja, Michael Toudouze, Tony Ugoh and strength and conditioning coach Jon Torine are expected to participate in this year's event.
"It's one of the events that I really look forward to and enjoy," Saturday said.
Saturday, who also is a spokesman for the People's Burn Foundation of Indiana, enjoys being able to return the favor to a hospital that has done so much for his family.
"I can do more things with the hospital and the burn unit," Saturday said. "The Miracle Ride takes a portion of the money earned in the entire event and gives it to Riley's Burn Center because they know that my heart is involved on the burn side."
Saturday also has one final reason that he looks forward to the Miracle Ride.
"Once we had kids, my wife's idea of motorcycles changed dramatically. I get one weekend to ride and that's Miracle Ride Weekend."