In Memory of Allie: ABATE raises funds for camp at MSU

PHOTO SUBMITTED /  Allie's mother, Sissy Barkley (above left) gives Harold Young, an "In Memory of Allie" bandana after his donation to the camp at Mississippi State University's T.K. Martin Center.

DAILY LEADER / JULIA PENDLEY / Allie’s mother, Sissy Barkley (above left) gives Harold Young, an “In Memory of Allie” bandana after his donation to the camp at Mississippi State University’s T.K. Martin Center.

Saturday morning the Southwest Chapter of American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, or ABATE, rode off into the distance as part of an effort to raise money in memory of the daughter of two members.

Allie Barkley, the daughter of Earl and Sissy Barkley, died in December at age 25 after a life-long struggle with cerebral palsy. Barkley’s parents said her favorite activity was to go motorcycle riding.

“She was a special girl,” Earl Barkley said Saturday morning as the ABATE members gathered at Hudgey’s Family Restaurant on Brookway Boulevard to begin their ride.

This is the first year of the Unity Trace Run, but the chapter hopes it becomes an annual event. The funds raised, approximately $350, will be contributed to Camp Jabber Jaw in Allie Barkley’s name.

Part of Mississippi State University’s T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability, the camp provides opportunities to develop communication skills for those who use augmentative and alternative communication boards. The communication boards allow people who have trouble speaking to communicate with the outside world.

The Southwest Chapter of ABATE prepares to hit the road Saturday morning in anticipation of the group's first Unity Trace Run to raise funds for Camp Jabber Jaw in memory of Allie Barkley.

The Southwest Chapter of ABATE prepares to hit the road Saturday morning in anticipation of the group’s first Unity Trace Run to raise funds for Camp Jabber Jaw in memory of Allie Barkley.

Earl Barkley said it is the only time most of the children are around others who also use the boards. Sissy Barkley said the camp invites whole families to participate, and they stay on campus at the dorm. Generally, the camp has between 16 and 18 families. She said if anyone would like to donate to the camp, they can do so through the T.K. Martin website.

The Unity Trace Run took participants up Interstate 55 to the Natchez Trace and then to their destination at Ratliff Ferry, where the group planned on camping for the night.

“I hope this goes really well,” Harold Young, head of the Southwest Chapter of ABATE, said. “It’s a really cool place.”

As the group prepared to leave, Earl Barkley thanked everyone for coming out. Sissy Barkley passed out Allie’s bandanas monogrammed with “In memory of Allie” as a thank you.