We missed it! Yep, no hiding that fact! The Cycle Connections staff does our absolute best to cover every event, but sometimes we just can’t get to them all. In this case, it was a big one, so we now bow our heads in shame and request your forgiveness! Although we weren’t present for this one, we are bringing you the heartwarming story that came from it.
Jessica Freeman is at the center of our story. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2004, just prior to her 30th birthday. Always smiling, she was the last one you’d expect to come down with this affliction. Once it happened, she handled it with maturity beyond her age. Due to the aggressive nature of the cancer, and the fact that it had spread to her lymph nodes, Jessica took the least favorable alternative and had a mastectomy. Following her procedure, she missed very little work and fellow employees hardly knew of her ailment. Her attitude never changed and she kept her positive outlook and disposition. When Jessica lost her hair from the treatment, they held a hat party for her and she was a good sport! Later, after loosing her eyebrows and eyelashes she had a difficult time, but again she dealt with it.
Many in the riding community from southern Johnson County know Jessica’s mother, Anita Shaw, as Spike, the webmaster for Spikes Trikes. Anita is one who loves to ride, has owned at least five trikes and currently rides a 1999 Road King by Lehman. She is also a caring and concerned mom who would do anything for her daughter. Throughout Jessica’s illness, Anita was there. Jessica was fortunate to have an insurance plan that covered her expenses, but Anita wanted to do more. So early last November, Anita began organizing a benefit ride for the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
To pick the date for the ride, Spike used some ‘old school’ methodology. With the Farmer’s Almanac in hand, she chose April 16, smack dab in the middle of the rainy season. In partnership with Mark, owner and operator of the Brickyard Pub in Olathe, they put together an itinerary that included a ride, live music, raffles and auctions. They garnered sponsorships from many different businesses, all willing to help. They notified bars on the path that their group would be coming by and to be prepared.
Saturday, April 16 arrived and it was a bright and sunny 80 degree day. Participation GREATLY exceeded everyone’s expectations! After all, we know how important breasts are to bikers, right? Over 300 motorcycles and 500 people participated. The group left the Brickyard in Olathe, traveled to Edgerton, then to Eudora, Bonner Springs, Kansas City, Kansas and finally back to the Brickyard. All the bars but one stepped up and met their obligations. Following the ride, hot dogs were served, beer was consumed and everybody rocked hard to live music from Crisis, including the neighbors! Local law enforcement was called out due to the volume, but they were cool and let them finish their planned set.
One other individual is worthy of some extra attention. Larry Henry’s efforts in the fund-raising event were phenomenal! Per Spike, he’s a loud mouthed biker that went into businesses and said “This is what we’re doing, so what are you gonna give?” He asked one business to donate a mini chopper and when they could not, he bought it himself. The group sold $10 raffle tickets for the bike and made over $4,000 on it alone! He also secured a trip to the Bahamas and several other items.
Sometimes planned rides just come together and sometimes, they are absolutely Golden! Jessica’s goal for the foundation, when the planning began, was to raise $5,000. By late April, proceeds from this benefit ride had exceeded $15,000, placing her second in line as the top individual fund raiser. Absolutely amazing!
This was a clean ride and a fun ride, I’m told—no accidents and no problems. Mark’s team of ride captains maintained the pace and everybody hung together. The photos, courtesy of Sober Dan, show a long and continuous two-mile line of motorcycles with many smiling faces! All riders behaved exceeding well, which with this volume of egos, is frequently a significant challenge.
If you would like to donate, to help Jessica raise more money, go to her personal page on the Breast Cancer 3-Day web site.
Story by Nic
Photos by Sober Dan