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More than motorcycles: Miracle Riders’ passion fuels students’ nursing education, experience - Columbus State University Skip to Main Content

More than motorcycles: Miracle Riders’ passion fuels students’ nursing education, experience

May 28, 2024

Group of people posing with a ceremonial big check

Arriving to a packed welcome-home celebration on Friday, May 24, the Miracle Riders rolled into Uptown Columbus to the cheers of family, friends, well-wishers and fans. The pack of 14 motorcyclists had spent the 19 days since leaving Frank Brown Hall on May 6 riding through 29 states to raise funds for a new neonatal ICU simulation lab in the School of Nursing.

“This is the greatest group of men I have ever had the opportunity to spend time with—to be affiliated with them is our honor and our privilege,” said President Stuart Rayfield, who met the riders at points along their trip, and whose first time riding a motorcycle was on the back of a bike for the final 100-mile Macon-to-Columbus leg of the ride. “I want to thank these guys; their heart for Columbus and every kid in Columbus means everything to Columbus State. We are the lucky beneficiaries of their hard work.”

Each year’s ride has a distinctive route making it different from past rides. This year, the Miracle Riders’ 8,900-plus-mile road trip included stops at 16 cities and towns that share the Columbus name.

“On behalf of the 207,000-plus people who live in Columbus, Georgia, the way you represent us and the way you represent yourselves and the way you showed the other Columbuses in the United States how to be empathetic, how to love one another, how to serve people—you’re awesome,” said Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson.

Headshot of Scott Ressmeyer“We get to travel the country, we get to meet a lot of great people, we get to see a lot of really cool things in the cities that we travel through,” Miracle Riders founder Scott Ressmeyer said. “And yes, we went to 16 different Columbuses. When we left, they knew that Columbus, Georgia, was the number-one Columbus in the country.”

One of those Columbuses included Columbus, Ohio, where the Miracle Riders and Columbus State representatives toured Ohio State University’s NICU simulation lab.

“Their simulation lab was incredible,” Ressmeyer recalled, “but when we walked in, the first thing I saw was the exact same simulation robotic mom that we have here at Columbus State [in our Mother-Baby Simulation Lab]. That says something that Columbus State has the same labor-and-delivery technology [that you can find at Ohio State].”

The $192,000 raised through this year’s ride will sponsor the third installment of Miracle Rider-funded simulation labs for Columbus State nursing students. The Miracle Riders’ planned NICU simulation lab will be the region’s first university-based one. Like the two previously funded by the Miracle Riders, the newest sim lab will provide nursing students with practical diagnostic and treatment experience on interactive HAL® simulators. The robotic mannequins—ranging from infants to adults—feature lifelike patient movements, facial expressions, responses, and medical conditions and crises.

“We love you and we are so grateful for your support of our School of Nursing,” Dr. Margie Yates, dean of the College of Education & Health Professions, said at the group’s homecoming. “You are going to change lives, and our nurses are going to get that state-of-the-art experience with the new NICU unit.”

“If we can train nurses here [at Columbus State University] in a simulation lab with robotics, they’ll be more comfortable the first time they’re in a ‘real-life’ NICU caring for a live baby,” Ressmeyer said. “These nursing students will use what they’ve learned with [robotic simulators] when caring for real people; if we can give them that confidence, they’ll provide better care to those mothers and their children.”

Ressmeyer said his first-ever visit to a neonatal intensive care unit helped inspire his work and the focus of this year’s ride.

“I had no idea what a NICU even was,” he recalled. “[I saw] a baby that would fit in the palm of my hand, struggling just to exist. I saw the nurses’ compassion and their heart to care for something so tiny. You can’t walk out of a NICU without a tear in your eye; the caregivers there are taking care of something so precious.”


This is the third Miracle Riders outing on behalf of Columbus State and in support of the organization's multi-year, $1 million fundraising goal. Their previous two rides have funded a Pediatric Simulation Lab dedicated in September 2022 and a Mother-Baby Simulation Lab dedicated in March 2024.

Ressmeyer said the Miracle Riders look forward to dedicating and cutting the ribbon on the new NICU simulation lab later this year. Supporters can follow the riders’ efforts on their Facebook page, donate online through the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley or learn more on their website.

ABOUT THE MIRACLE RIDE

The Ride for Miracles began in 2009 when Ressmeyer set out alone on a ride through the 48 contiguous states to celebrate his 50th birthday and raise funds for the Children’s Hospital at what is now Piedmont Columbus Midtown Medical Center. An additional 29 motorcyclists joined the ride over the next six years, raising $1.2 million for the hospital’s pediatric services. 

After meeting their initial goal, the riders broadened their fundraising efforts to include other local services for children. In 2015, they established the Miracle Ride Fund in the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley and have since raised more than $1.3 million.

Since the inaugural ride in 2009, Ressmeyer and the riders have raised more than $2.5 million for services for children. The riders pay all their own expenses for each ride, which collectively has totaled more than $750,000.

ABOUT THE SCHOOL OF NURSING

Based in Columbus State University’s College of Education & Health Professions, the School of Nursing offers undergraduate- and graduate-level nursing programs, including a BSN program; an RN-BSN program with on-campus and online options; an on-campus and online MSN program with Nurse Educator, Nurse Informaticist or Nurse Leader tracks; and an FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner) MSN program with both on-campus and online options.

With more than 10 faculty members, students enjoy a 15-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Students also benefit from activities hosted by the school’s National Student Nurses’ Association chapter and networking through the school’s Nursing Alumni Group.

Students interested in pursuing a nursing degree apply to the School of Nursing after completing 63 hours of the university’s core, health and STEM courses that complement the nursing plan of study. This is usually the semester before they begin their junior year. Admission also includes achieving minimum GPA requirements and successfully completing required sections of the RN Admission Evolve Reach A2 Assessment Test. Once accepted, they receive specialized advising from the school’s staff.

The School of Nursing has full approval from the Georgia Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and many of its programs are ranked regionally and nationally for their affordability and academic rigor.

For more information, visit columbusstate.edu/nursing.

Media contacts:
Michael Tullier, APR, Executive Director of Strategic Communication + Marketing, 706.507.8729, mtullier@columbusstate.edu 
Marion Scott, Miracle Riders, marion.scott120@gmail.com 

Related news coverage:
Miracle Riders raise $192K for CSU's NICU simulation lab (WTVM-TV, May 24, 2024)
Miracle Riders returning to Columbus - 6pm (WTVM-TV, May 24, 2024)
Uptown Columbus hosting celebration for return of Miracle Riders (WTVM-TV, May 22, 2024)