COLUMBIA — Melissa Bass owes a lot to the Ronald McDonald House.
When her first child, a son, was born prematurely and had jaundice, the house gave her shelter while her son was in the hospital.
The staff made it so that she could focus all her attention on her child. Her son, now age 10, is healthy. But she still tries to give back to the house whenever she can.
That's why she stood outside Saturday morning, sheltered from the impending rain, to volunteer for the Show-Me 100 Bike Ride.
The annual event, which raises money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Missouri, is in its third year.
Mike Morgan, a member of the Ronald McDonald House board, said he expected the event to raise $15,000 this year. That money will help fund the Ronald McDonald House being built within walking distance to the MU Women's and Children's Hospital.
The closer location will help families like Bass'.
The cyclists who came to support the organization had several options for participation. They could bike three routes — 30 miles, 60 miles and 100 miles.
And families with children had the option of a 1.5-mile Family Fun Ride and joining Show-Me 100 volunteers in an activity-filled fair, complete with an appearance by Ronald McDonald himself, at Shakespeare's Pizza South.
Bass spent the afternoon passing out prizes to the children at the event.
She's now pregnant with her fourth child, and, in addition to volunteering with the ride, she plans to give a donation to the Ronald McDonald House when her next child is born. She has done that with the births of her last two children, as well.
"I was lucky that my son got to go home," Bass said. Other parents in the house were not so lucky.
Out on the ride, the day was rainy, but the cycling was smooth. The rain only made traveling slower, cyclists said.
The turnout for the event showed how much people wanted to support the Ronald McDonald House, Morgan said, "and bike in the rain."
Supervising editor is Edward Hart.