The last words that Edward “Bud” Ridenour heard his 13-year-old daughter, Katie, say were “Remember the difference I showed you.”
Ridenour is trying to make a difference by raising $1 million through his Web site, www.a
dollarforadad.com, for the Georgia Health Sciences Children’s Medical Center.
“I just want to keep a promise to my daughter,” Ridenour said.
Katie, who lived her whole life in Martinez, died Dec. 28, 2005, after a nearly life-long battle with cancer. At 18 months old, doctors diagnosed Katie with a brain tumor.
A few years into her six-year treatment, Ridenour took his daughter to the medical center’s annual fundraising telethon.
“I made her a promise that we’d write a check to match what (the telethon) raised and I’d let her take it up on stage,” said Ridenour, who is a volunteer at the center and serves on many medical center boards.
When Katie was 12, her brain tumor was in remission, but she faced cancer again. She was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer and died nine months later.
But Ridenour was determined to make good on his promise.
Ridenour partnered with a friend’s son, author J. Michael Shoemaker, who created the Web site.
The telethon usually raised $800,000-$850,000, so Ridenour figures $1 million will more than cover his promise to Katie and provide much needed funds at the medical center. Donations go directly to the medical center for supplies, equipment, children’s art supplies and anything else the center needs.
Ridenour said he considered forming a foundation to raise themoney, but didn’t want board members to decide where the money would go.
“I want to help other kids and I want them to get all the money,” he said.
Ridenour said so many people and businesses were kind to Katie during her life. Those businesses are featured on the site, including Camperland, which provided a motor home for Katie to enjoy for a 13th birthday sleepover, and Tuscany, An Italian Day Spa, where Katie was pampered during a special event for cancer patients.
The businesses also include her favorite restaurants and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
He knows it’ll be a long effort, but Ridenour expects eventually to write that big check.
“I think I can raise $1 million,” he said. “I think I can do it.”
To make a donation, visit www.adollarforadad.com.