Connor Ridley, a 5th grader at Bowdoin Central School, is raffling off his new bike to raise funds for another child’s medical treatment. Jen Carroll

A little effort and a big heart can go a long way in helping others. Connor Ridley, all of 11, has shown that.

A Bowdoin Central School 5th grader, Ridley has been raising money for another child’s medical treatment by raffling off the brand new bike that he won by participating in the Bikes for Books reading contest this summer.

Connor Dobbyn with his father Michael Dobbyn.  Jen Carroll

Ridley’s mother Jen Carroll said her friend’s son, Connor Dobbyn, was diagnosed a few years ago with a rare genetic condition called Sanfilippo syndrome Type C, a fatal brain disorder caused by a single missing enzyme.

“It is often compared to childhood Alzheimer’s. There is no cure for Sanfilippo, and the average life expectancy is 10 to 20 years,” said Carroll.

Connor Dobbyn, 13, lives with his parents and his younger brother in Pennsylvania.

“To save his life, his family is working to get him into a clinical trial that costs millions of dollars,” said Carroll. “He is barely two years older than (Ridley), and I cannot imagine having to digest that kind of news. We often discuss (Connor Dobbyn’s) health condition at home, and Connor (Ridley) is aware of it. A few months ago, he overheard me speaking with a friend about it, and that is when I think he decided to help this kid.”

“One day Connor (Ridley) came back from school and said he would win the bike and later sell it so that he could give that money towards Connor’s (Dobbyn) treatment,” Carroll said. “He said, ‘Mom, I can do this. It’s easy. I am going to turn this opportunity into something great.'”

It was then, Carroll suggested he raffle the bike instead of selling it. She said it was her idea to raise money with the bike, but Ridley was all for it from the beginning.

“I agreed to support him to the best of my ability in his endeavor. Connor (Ridley) has always been very helpful. Not everything hits his radar, but when it does, he feels it so profoundly and relates to it,” said Carroll. “He sees his potential. Even if he doesn’t realize that is what he is doing.”

Speaking with The Times Record, Michael Dobbyn, Connor Dobbyn’s father, said he is thankful for all the support they receive from people all over the country. “Connor (Ridley) is one of the youngest who stepped up and wanted to do something. It’s very inspiring. He is trying to raise money from miles away for my child, and that brightens my heart. This gesture of his tells a lot about him as a human being, and it is amazing to see a child of that age willing to do so much for someone whom he has never met.”

Every dollar raised is directed toward Cure Sanfilippo Foundation and a GoFundMe fundraiser.

“If they reach their goal of $1 million, Connor (Dobbyn) should be able to go into Phase 1 of the clinical trial,” Michael Dobbyn said.

Meanwhile, Ryan Keith, Principal of Bowdoin Central School, has been spreading the word about Ridley’s initiative in the local community through the school district’s weekly newsletter.

The raffle tickets that Connor Ridley is selling Jen Carroll

“Connor (Ridley) has always been kind and polite to other students in the school. Every Spring, we do the ‘Bikes for Books’ program, and the idea behind this is to get our students excited to increase their time reading,” said Keith. “This year, Ridley was excited to win the bike, but for another kid who is sick. He was determined to win the bike by reading as much as he could, so that he could raffle it to help that kid.”

The mother-son duo is selling raffle tickets at $10 each, or six for $50, continuing through the end of July. The winner will be drawn the first week in August.

“Who wouldn’t want to win a bike for $10?” Carroll said. “We are hoping that $10 for a chance to win a bike will spark some interest, which may help encourage a few extra ticket purchases.”

For more information about purchasing raffle tickets. Contact Jen Carroll at [email protected]


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