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Motorcyclists ready to roll in memory of local cancer victim

| Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010

More than 350 motorcycles will roar out of the Nicholson Lumber Mill at the top of Springfield Pike in Connellsville 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 passed away from the disease three years later, in April 2007.

"Into the second year of his treatments, we were sitting in the waiting room waiting for radiation when he recognized a neighbor of ours," his wife Connie Nicholson said. "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 Scott Nicholson saw the planning stages of his idea take shape, he passed away just four months before the first "Scott Nicholson Memorial Run" was held.

The first year, 180 bikes roared out of the sawmill, Connie Nicholson said. That number rose to 250 the second year and 350 last year.

The only way the group raises funds is by selling a $100 ticket to 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 from the Pennsylvania Daily Lottery that evening.

"The first year we gave away a Harley Davidson Heritage, the next year we gave away a Harley Davidson Fat Boy, and last year we gave away a Harley Davidson Fat Bob," Connie Nicholson said.

She added that the event continues to get bigger and bigger every year. However, they have capped the number of tickets they will sell at 500.

"We never want more than 500 bikes on a run, so we won't do more than 500 tickets, but we may look at selling tickets for the dinner, only that would be for a smaller donation," Connie Nicholson said.

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 past Seven Springs, through Trent, on to Jennerstown and several other locations before they end at the Bullskin Township Fairgrounds where the dinner will be served.

Registration for those planning to just attend the dinner will be between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.

Connie Nicholson said there are more than 70 family members and friends who volunteer their time to pull this off and they've raised an average of approximately $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., Connie Nicholson said.

"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," she added. "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 at 2511 Springfield Pike or call her at 412-582-5310.

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