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Physical Therapy Supports Miles and Music for Kids

The annual event raised $636K for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital

Belmont University’s School of Physical Therapy partnered with the annual Dierks Bentley Miles and Music for Kids motorcycle ride and concert to benefit Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital on Nov, 1. The event is the unofficial kick-off to the biggest week of the year in Nashville–CMA week. This year marked the 10th year of the annual event, with Belmont’s PT program assisting as volunteer staff since its inception in 2006.

In the past decade, the ride and concert has raised more than three million dollars to help Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and has gone to support the hospital’s pediatric palliative care program. The program supports the hospital’s sickest patients, many of whom are facing the end of life. This money enables families to focus on their kids. “Money raised goes to families so they can focus their prayers on their kids getting well and not have to worry and pray about money. There is so much positive energy there and so many great doctors,” Bentley said.

Sells, Bentley, VoightThe event is one Bentley said he looks forward to year round. “I look forward to this show more than any other show of the entire year. We get to do something for the community, give back to the community,” Bentley said before the event. “We could not have taken this event to the level it now is without the help of my friend Mike Voight and his students at Belmont University. The Belmont students have been integral to the success of this event from the inaugural ride ten years ago to its current size.  I always look forward to working with them.”

Belmont PT graduate and Adjunct Faculty member Ashley Campbell has volunteered for the past eight years, overseeing Belmont volunteers for the past five. Reflecting on the day Campbell stated, “The Belmont PT students are a huge part of the continued success of this event. I was so proud to be associated with such a great group of hard working and dedicated young adults.”

The sold-out event started with a motorcycle ride beginning at the Harley Davidson store in Columbia, 40 miles south of Music City, and ended downtown at the Ascend Amphitheater with a star studded concert. Brooke Eden was the first and followed by The Cadillac Three, Canaan Smith, Cole Swindell, Thomas Rhett and Florida Georgia Line. Bentley closed the night with a nearly hour-long set bursting with hits, including “Every Mile a Memory” and “I Hold On.”

Before his performance, Bentley brought Dalton Waggoner, a patient at Vanderbilt since his congenital heart defect diagnosis at two-days-old and Miles and Music inaugural participant, on stage. “Dalton is the riser of the night,” Bentley told the crowd, referring to his song “Riser” about resilience in the face of adversity. At the night’s end, Bentley brought Waggoner back on stage for the $636,479 check presentation, a total that made the event the most successful one yet.

Physical Therapy Professor Mike Voight, who along with colleague Dr. Pat Sells have coordinated Belmont’s participation with this event from the inception ten years ago said, “This was a great learning experience and fun event for our students. Not only did they get to meet and work with the stars of country music, but in doing so they also helped the community in a large way.”

Sells continued saying, “Our students have been involved in staging this event since the beginning and have become very well versed on how to pull together as a team and get things done. It is a real pleasure to watch them give and serve unselfishly. This is what service is all about.”