Grandma Loves an Adventure

Kathy Keegan bike1

Keegan readies to ride her trike.

Kathy Keegan, of Raleigh, is a 71-year-old “Biker Chick” grandma!  The title makes her laugh because the image the term conjures up certainly doesn’t suit Keegan!  She doesn’t sport a bandana, tattoos or a leather vest and chaps, but she does love riding motorcycles.  She was a passenger for several years but in 2007, she learned to ride solo and now drives her own motorcycle trike.

“I love it,” said Keegan.  “I’ve always enjoyed convertibles but this is much better.  I can’t explain what a good feeling—a free feeling—it is to ride.  I’m not reckless and am very safety conscious, but I’ve always done cool and crazy things in my life.”

And yet her family and friends were somewhat surprised when Keegan announced she would go “Over the Edge” for Special Olympics North Carolina on Oct. 5 in Raleigh.  Upon raising $1,000, she will get the opportunity to see Raleigh like very few ever do.  She will rappel 30 stories down the side of the Wells Fargo Capitol Center skyscraper in Downtown Raleigh.

“I’ve never been the type of person to say I can’t do this,” said Keegan. “People ask if I’m scared or nervous.  I don’t like heights, but I’m really not nervous or worried about it.  I’ve seen pictures from previous years and you can see how secured in you are so people think I’m crazy but I’m good with it. Shoot,  I’ve climbed on my roof and cleaned my own gutters.  I’ll be fine.”

Keegan is a grandmother to two children who live in Ohio.

Keegan is a grandmother to two children who live in Ohio.

This event is also personal for Keegan, the mother of  Special Olympics North Carolina athlete Chris Oehler.  Her 44-year-old son has been involved in Special Olympics since his childhood in Pennsylvania, but he got involved again as an adult in 1999.  His experiences have transformed the quality of his life.

“It has made such a difference in his life,” said Keegan. “He’s gained so much self confidence.  He’s no longer as reserved or bashful as he used to be.  He loves to volunteer when he’s not competing and enjoys being a mentor too.  I don’t have words to describe how highly I think of Special Olympics.  ‘Every positive adjective you can think of’ is all I can say.”

So thankful is Keegan for Special Olympics that she has made it a point to include Special Olympics in her will.  She also has named Special Olympics a beneficiary of the Special Needs Trust she has set up for Chris, whereby any monies he does not use in his lifetime will go to the organization.  She hopes other Special Olympics families will consider paying it forward as they think about the future.

But for now, she focuses on the immediate future and Saturday, Oct. 5, which is fast approaching.

“Chris thinks I’m crazy,” Keegan smiled. “But he’ll be there on the ground supporting me.  I know he’s proud that I’m doing this.”

Join Kathy Keegan and go Over the Edge for Special Olympics!  Register today at