(WMC-TV) - Friends and family are cycling to remember a community leader with a compassionate heart and determined attitude to help others. Before Liz LaVelle's tragic death more than three years ago, she committed to helping Mid-South foster children.
An angel's image hangs in the Germantown home of Dr. David and Jenny LaVelle. Liz's smile beams from the picture of the last family trip to Gulf Shores.
Her mother says it is Liz's profile.
The family cherishes their daughter's memory, she was the youngest of their three children. At the age of 20, Liz died in a tragic car crash in July 2010.
"She wanted to work with children in foster care who had learning disabilities. Special needs," David.
Dr. LaVelle, a knee and hip specialist at Campbell Clinic, pedals the pain of Liz's loss away.
"I think part of this ride and part of what we want to do is extend Liz's legacy beyond what her years allowed her to extend it," he said
The life and legacy of a noted Memphis orthopedic surgeon's daughter is the focus of a big event this Saturday. The Liz LaVelle Memorial Cycling Series benefits AGAPE, the Memphis charity that helped the LaVelle family start fostering a pair of siblings at Liz's urging.
"She started pushing us to say: Why don't we do this? Why don't we really do this?" he said. "Part of that may have been she wanted a little brother or sister ... But she recognized that not every child had the same loving family she had grown up knowing."
The then persuasive 16-year-old got her way.
The LaVelles started fostering the same children each weekend until Liz's unexpected departure.
"My cycling friends all came to the visitation. Wow. And they came down together to see me," he said.
When not caring for foster kids, Liz would cheer at her Dad's bike races.
"She got up early, early in the morning," said David.
So when it came time for Dr. LaVelle's cycling team to name their race series, their angel and her legacy,was bright.
"Help kids. Be with kids. Help kids who need learning help. Help kids that need foster help. That's the legacy that she left," said David.
This weekend you can help through the Liz LaVelle Memorial Cycling Series. It takes place this Saturday, August 17 starting at 10 a.m. at Forestview Church, 5425 Watkins Street.
Even if you are not a rider, you can come out and support the family festivities with food and music that will benefit AGAPE. Click here for more.