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Bikers to roar through area for fundraiser

More than 400 bikes will roar out of the Ed Nicholson and Sons Lumber Company at the top of Springfield Pike on Saturday in hopes of raising money for local cancer patients in memory of friend and family member Scott Nicholson.

Scott Nicholson was diagnosed with lyposarcoma in 2004 at the age of 44. He died from the disease three years later.

"Into the second year of his treatments, we were sitting in the waiting room waiting for radiation when he recognized a neighbor of ours," said his wife Connie Nicholson. "He said he knew her and he knew that she needed to be working because they could lose their house, and that's when he decided that we really needed to do something to help those less fortunate than we were."

While he saw the planning stages of his idea begin to take shape, Scott Nicholson passed away in April 2007, just four months before the first Scott Nicholson Memorial Run was held.

The first year, 180 bikes roared out of the sawmill. That number rose to 250 the second year, 350 the third year and nearly 400 last year.

The only way the group raises funds is by selling a $100 ticket for those who want to be part of the run or join in a dinner for two at the end of the run. The ticket also gives them the opportunity to win a motorcycle, with the number going off the Pennsylvania Daily Lottery that evening.

This year, organizers will be giving away a Harley Davidson Street Glide with power pack.

Connie Nicholson added that the event gets bigger and bigger every year, but they have capped the number of tickets sold at 500.

Registration for the riders will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the sawmill. The bikes will pull out at 11 a.m. The ride will take participants up Route 40 and the National Pike, then to Jessop's Boat Club in Carmichaels, and then the Perry Township Fire Hall. They will leave the hall around 5:30 p.m. and later roar over the Crawford Bridge in Connellsville.

They will end up at the Connellsville Township Fire Hall where dinner will be served. Registration will be held again at this site from 5 to 6 p.m. The winner of the motorcycle will be announced around 7 p.m.. Crazy Cowboys will take the stage soon after. The event will end at 10 p.m.

Connie Nicholson said they have over 70 family members and friends who volunteer their time to pull this off, and they've raised an average of about $35,000 each year.

The money goes to local cancer patients -- primarily in Fayette County -- but also to others in portions of Southwestern Pennsylvania because they're a registered charitable organization (Nicholson Cancer Fund Inc.).

So far they've been able to help more than 180 families.

"We just want local people who are struggling to make ends meet because a family member has cancer to know that we want to help them," Connie Nicholson said. "We have a really simple referral form. Once they fill it out and say what their needs are, our board reviews it and then we help."

Any local family who might be in need can write to Connie Nicholson, 2511 Springfield Pike, Connellsville, Pa. 15425 or call her at 412-582-5310.

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