In 2001, a group of concerned friends got together with an idea to raise funds for then 11 year old cancer patient Elise Harrison of Plymouth Township. Being motorcyclists ourselves, we knew of the big hearts that most bikers have, and decided to hold a benefit ride. With the help of Plymouth Township Volunteer Fire Company, Plymouth Township Recreation Park Association, our sponsors, our many volunteers, and entertainment from 40lb Head, Oz, many other area bands and Rock Street Music, we were able to raise over $13,000 for Elise and her Family. Sadly, Elise lost her battle to cancer one year later. Since the event meant so much to Elise and ourselves, we decided to make this an annual event in her memory.
Please take a moment and read Elise’s Journal entry from the night following her benefit event:
Today was an awesome day! There was a benefit held for me down at Plymouth Township Rec. Park. Friends who I really know care about me. I’ve never seen so many motorcycles in my life. There were so many kinds and colors. I got to go for a ride on one, (Jack and Lindsey’s Bike). It was the greatest. I know mom and dad were worried! But it was so much fun. The bands and food all the people. I even worked in a stand for a while. I had the best time ever, it made me feel so happy. So many people care about me having this stupid cancer. I know they want me to get better fast, even people I didn’t know came to support my family. I wanted to cry today because people love me, and just want to help. I hope that I can help them someday too. I’m shy sometimes, but hope that Rick and Frank, Uncle Don and Aunt Michelle and Sue and Mary Anne (there are too many people for me to write down) know how much I love them too and all the motorcycle people and cooks and everyone who volunteered know how much I appreciate this Fund Raiser.
Love to all. XXXXOOOO
Since those humble beginnings in 2001, Valley With a Heart Benefits has grown each year.
In 2002, we hosted a benefit ride to raise funds for Amanda Sod, a 12 year old girl from Wilkes-Barre who was suffering from a form of bone cancer known as Ewing Sarcoma. Today, Amanda is doing great!
Our benefactor in 2003 was 11 year old Amy Goerner of Wilkes-Barre who had a rare form of Lukemia. Amy touched our hearts in many ways, and it saddens us to say that she has since lost her battle.
In 2004, we met 3 year old Seth Wesley of Nanticoke, who is fighting his own battle with cancer. Today, Seth is doing well, and his prognosis is good.
Our 2005 benefactor was 4 year old Austin Lindbuchler of Shickshinny. Austin is suffering from several serious medical conditions and is still undergoing medical treatment today.
On September 3, 2006, we held our annual benefit ride to aid the Matcho family of Dallas. The Matcho’s have not one, but two children with Cystic Fibrosis. Nicholas, 6 and Andrew, 8 are typical active little boys with big smiles that just melt your heart. With the funds raised, we were able to provide a central air conditioning system for the Matcho home, which will aid Nicholas and Andrew with their respiratory problems.
Our 2007 poster kids were Kevin Goble of Pittston and Zachary Phillips of Edwardsville. Both boys were born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.
In addition to our primary benefactors, we have been able to help many other children as well. Some of our other activities have included the donation of toys to area hospitals and giving pre-paid gas cards to the families of children who must travel out of the area for medical treatments.
To date, we have raised well over $100,000 to help seriously ill children and their families within the Wyoming Valley.
Looking forward, our goal is to continue to grow, so that we will be able to help many more children in the Wyoming Valley.
Again, we would like to thank everyone who has helped our cause in the past, and thanks in advance to all who will help us in the future.
For the Kids,
The Staff of Valley With a Heart Benefits