Ride for Rio; Elkhart rallies to end bullying

Rio Allred's parents are using the unimaginable pain of losing their daughter and channeling that to help prevent future bullying.
Published: Jun. 26, 2022 at 12:58 AM EDT
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - Rio’s Rainbow Ride happened today in Elkhart, and community members came out in an effort to end school bullying.

Rio’s parents’ message was clear; they want to bring the community together and put an end to bullying.

Rio Allred, a 12-year-old North Side Middle School student, took her life after reports of extensive bullying due to her alopecia, a condition causing hair loss.

When asked if this is helping their grieving process, knowing Rio’s legacy will live on by their willingness to help others, Rio’s parents answered, “it has to; we won’t let it end any other way. We’ll see the work done, and we all feel like that’s what she would’ve wanted. I think she knew we would do this.”

Family, friends, and community members rode or drove from AMC 14 in Elkhart to the RV Hall of Fame, to raise awareness for bullying and funds for Rio’s Rainbow.

When discussing bullying in schools, Rio’s bonus dad Arron Ball stated that “It’s that big of a problem when it’s probably worse than what we even know. The more people that reach out and get involved with what we’re trying to do, the quicker that we can start making some real change in Elkhart County.”

Rio’s mom Nicole Ball expressed concerns not just for victims of bullies but also for the bullies themselves.

“We want to help all these kids, not just the kids being bullied but also the bullies, because there’s something going on there, obviously, and we need to fix that as humans and just be good to each other, said Nicole Ball.”

Since Rio took her own life on March 13th of this year, her story has received statewide, national, and international attention and has brought the issue of bullying to the back forefront.

“We want to be able to help the kids. We want to be able to help teachers. We want to be able to help parents and all the people in our community. I feel like a lot of folks have a need but not an outlet, and anyway that Rio’s Rainbow ultimately can help with any kind of mental health issues or just questions, or parenting advice, anything, we want to be able to help provide that outlet and have some place for people to go,” said Arron Ball.

One of Rio’s family members counted the motorcycle and said there were 118 bikes, numerous Jeeps, old cars, and even a semi-truck in the honor ride.

Rio’s mom said the nickname came from when Rio was in preschool, and now, every time she sees a rainbow, she knows Rio is there with her.

Rio’s birthday is this upcoming Thursday. She would’ve been 13 years old.

The motto of Rio’s Rainbow is ‘Always be Kind.’

If you’d like to donate to Rios’s Rainbow and help stop bullying, click on one of the links provided in this story.

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