Bentleyville Eagle Riders hold motorcycle run fundraiser for bone cancer patient
By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Published: Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Motorcycle after motorcycle dotted the pavement, a line of 70 bikes stretching as far as the eye could see, all riding to support a local boy.
The Bentleyville Eagle Riders hosted a fundraising motorcycle run Aug. 24, which raised about $6,700 to benefit Aidan Knox, a Bentleyville boy who underwent treatment over the past year for Ewing's sarcoma, a type of bone cancer. His scans are now clear.
Aidan Knox, 10, cruised along with the group on a trike, his first ride on a motorcycle. By the event's end, he was “already thinking about how to buy a motorcycle,” said Rob Nuzzo, vice president of the Bentleyville Eagle Riders.
The daylong ride kicked off at the Bentleyville Eagles F.O.E. 1809 along Hazel Street, home base of the Bentleyville Eagle Riders. About 130 participants — some hailing from as far away as Erie and West Virginia — embarked on the 80-mile journey which passed through towns of Dunbar, Uniontown and Republic.
Riders and passengers gave a donation to participate. After the ride, the group hosted a party including a DJ, band and Chinese auction.
The Eagle Riders covered the event expenses, allowing them to donate “every single penny that we raise,” group president Morgan Mitchell said. The Knox family may use the donated funds for whatever they need, Mitchell said, adding that “they know what he needs more than we do.”
Many local businesses throughout the Mon Valley donated to help make the event a success.
“We canvassed Bentleyville asking for assistance to do this, and the town responded with that,” Mitchell said. “We stretch our tentacles pretty far to make things like this happen.”
To the Knox family, the ride was “one of the most amazing days,” said Aidan's father Lance Knox. The family of four, including Aidan's mother Jamie Knox and his 5-year-old brother Dylan, are “so touched” by the Eagle Riders' support, Lance Knox said.
“He was in his glory,” Knox said about his son.
The group even gave Aidan a “road name.” They called him “Lego” because of his love of the toy.
“They brought him out of his shell,” Lance Knox said. “He's going to be a little biker guy, I think. ... They just took such good care of him and treated him like a king.”
Lance Knox rode along behind the bikers in a car.
“Just to see a mile up the hill and up the bend, bikes lined up and knowing that they were all there for him was pretty amazing,” he said.
Aidan was diagnosed in September 2012 with Ewing's sarcoma, his father said, and he underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
After finishing chemotherapy in August, the family received word that Aidan's scans are clear, meaning “there's no evidence of disease,” Lance Knox said. He'll continue to return to the hospital frequently for scans.
The Bentleyville Eagle Riders, who host several fundraisers throughout the year, heard about Aidan through word of mouth.
“(Club members wanted) to see if we could do something for them since we're a community-centered organization and saw somebody local that needed help,” Mitchell said. “That's what we're here to do.”
Lance Knox said the family looks forward to helping the Eagle Riders in the future.
In November, the Knox family plans to visit Florida's “Give Kids The World” resort on a Make-A-Wish trip. Aidan will attend fifth grade this school year.
“He'll always remember (the bike trip),” Lance Knox said. “You could just see it on his face. He's never going to forget the day he rode a motorcycle. To see that look on his face was priceless.”
Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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