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'Ride 2 Provide' grows in 13th year

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@h-ponline.com

The annual “Ride 2 Provide” is returning to Markle next weekend, on August 18, for the 13th year at Markle Park.

Lesa Asher, creator and director of the event, explained that this motorcycle ride and day of activities is to help raise money for someone who has ongoing medical expenses.

It all began 13 years ago when Asher’s friend – a single woman – was diagnosed with breast cancer. Asher said she wanted to be able to help, so she created this event with the help of Turnpoint Community Church.

“And she’s still here with us, she’s on my committee now,” Asher said. “I’ve had many blessings from this. And I just couldn’t let it go after that first year because of seeing the response from people all over now are coming.”

Every year, she receives phone calls from those who may have someone they really care about struggling with paying medical expenses. Then, Asher said they invite them to be a part of the event. She said that since Warren is such a small community, word spreads, although the receiver does not have to be a Warren resident.

This year’s recipient, 39-year-old Rachel (Muchland) Eckert, has been in the process of fighting stage four colon cancer and is a mother of two. On August 1, she finished chemo and had surgery, and will return from receiving treatment in Michigan soon. Asher said they are hoping Eckert will be able to attend part of the event this year, but since she will have just returned, she may not be able to.

Registration for the motorcycle ride will begin at 11 a.m. and wheels will start turning at noon. The ride costs $10 per person and each participant will receive a free t-shirt.

During the ride, the motorcyclists will stop at six different spots to receive playing cards – Asher explained this isn’t a poker run, but participants will collect cards. At the end, everyone tallies up what they found and the winners will receive prizes. Asher said the first year the event was held, they had 55 bikes and last year there were 122.

“It has blossomed through the years,” Asher said.

Though the bike ride will begin at noon, other activities will begin at 1 p.m. These activities will include bingo, a silent auction, a dunk tank, door prizes, cookies and canvas, a bake sale and new to this year is the disc golf tournament.

In addition to the ride and variety of activities, Asher said the Markle Area Chamber of Commerce will also be hosting a 5K that morning beginning at 8:30, after a breakfast at 7. The pre-registration deadline is August 8 for $20 for those above the age of 12 or $12 for 12 and under. Day-of registration costs $10 for no T-shirt, $15 for 12 and under or $25 with a T-shirt. These proceeds also go toward Eckert.

The Markle Fire Station will also hold an open house on the 17 and will serve freewill donation hamburgers, hot dogs and chips as well as an opportunity for kids to look at the trucks.

The donations raised varies from year to year, but Asher said two years ago they were able to raise $20,000 and last year they reached $18,500.

“The hope is to help the recipient that we’re riding for, to (lighten) their load a little bit. Actually it’s to bring a community together. I’ve lived in Markle all my life, and I will always say, when push comes to shove, everybody kicks in,” Asher said.