Local News

October 4, 2008

'Raisin' riders pedal to raise hope, money

Dalton native Saul Raisin has gone from “Raisin hell” on the professional cycling circuit to “Raisin hope” for people with traumatic brain injuries.

The second annual Raisin Hope Foundation charity weekend kicked off Saturday at Heritage Point Park with a group cycling up Fort Mountain in Murray County. Events for the foundation, which raises money to support brain injury research, continue today with a 5K run/walk and cycling events.

About 225 cyclists — including eight-time Australian Pro Time Trial champion Nathan O’Neill — participated in the 15-, 35-, 50- and 62-mile rides on Saturday. Jim Raisin, Saul Raisin’s father, said participation was down from last year’s inaugural event, but attributed the drop to higher gas prices and the economy. Through Saturday afternoon, he said the foundation had raised about $30,000 and added that money was coming in.

“It was a wonderful day,” Saul Raisin said. “To see all the survivors of traumatic brain injuries out there riding was great. It really represents the entire mission of the foundation. We couldn’t have asked for a better day.”

Proceeds from the Raisin Hope Foundation benefit Camp Twin Lakes, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, National Brain Injury Information Center, the Shepherd Center and Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation. In addition to raising money to support brain injury research, the Raisin Hope Foundation connects individuals whose lives have been affected by a brain injury with support and information and promotes public awareness of people with disability as a result of brain injury.

Raisin, a Dalton High School graduate, was one of the rising stars on the international cycling circuit as a professional for French-based racing team Credit Agricole. He competed in the Tour de Georgia in 2003 and 2005, earning the “Best Young Rider” during his first entry in the race. Before he competed in the Dalton leg of the Tour in 2003, Dalton Mayor Ray Elrod presented Raisin a key to the city.

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