A horseback ride on the beach for a special cause

Baby Noah

Horseback riders from all over the country are in Horry County this weekend to raise money for the American Heart Association.

More than a thousand riders will take part in the 31st annual Beach Ride for the Heart Association. Last year, they raised $220,000 for heart research.

It's the one weekend each year when Lakewood Campground in Surfside Beach turns into one giant corral.

This year, for members of the Pendleton Area Saddle Club, the ride means something special.

The Upstate area saddle club is riding for Noah Samuel Moore, grandson of two of the club's members, who was born last week with a congenital heart defect.

Just seven days after his birth, Noah was rushed into surgery at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston this week.

"His aorta had an hourglass look to it, so they cut the hourglass part out and stitched it back together," said saddle club member Tony Holland.

Due to Noah's heart issues, his grandparents couldn't make it to the beach this year, but 14 of their friends from the saddle club are here, and they know exactly what this ride is all about.

"Without the support of the Heart Association, these kind of things couldn't happen," said Bobby Simpson, another member of Noah's Team. "Their support, the money that's raised here goes toward that and it saves lives."

While this year's ride may be dedicated to Noah, the Pendleton riders have been coming to the beach for years and they all have their own personal reasons why.

"Probably all of us have had people with heart conditions. My father passed away from a heart attack, and this year is even more important to us because of Noah," Simpson said.

Club members say they've been told Noah is doing fine after surgery.

Someday, he may hear the story about his friends on horseback, who rode so that he and future Noahs could have a better chance at life.