Marlene Lobner and her husband ride Harley-Davidsons and over the years both got involved with various poker runs and rallies to help out causes and friends in need of financial help.
In January, it was her turn to organize a run but for very personal reasons.
Last year Jeryka Lobner, Marlene's niece, was diagnosed with Urachal carcinoma, a rare form of cancer. After surgery in June and four rounds of chemotherapy, tests conducted in November at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX indicated she was free and clear of cancer.
Jeryka, 26, lives in Kansas so in addition to medical bills, the cost of traveling back and forth and staying in Houston for a week or more took its financial toll. Marlene thought a fund-raising motorcycle ride to prop up Jeryka's fight might work. Jeryka races rear engine dragsters on the weekends and is a beloved member of her community. She owns a gymnastics center in Manhatten, KS where she also coaches.
"I felt very emotional about the situation and could not do anything to take the pain or even the cancer away," said Marlene, who has a daughter two months and two minutes younger than Jeryka. "We felt like this was one way we could, as a family, help her and feel that we contributed to making her life just a little bit better. It is hard to see a young person go through this."
But shortly after Marlene began preparations for Jeryka's Run the ride took a new direction.
"During a routine MRI in February they found two spots on the brain," Jeryka said. "One spot was removed in March and on the other side I received gamma-knife radiosurgery (a type of radiation)."
Furthermore, while in Houston for the procedures, doctors found additional spots in her lungs and another on her liver. Lobner started a six-round chemo treatment in April.
"The ride became even more important to make it a success," Marlene said. "Not only to collect the money, but for other people to show support, encouragement and strength for Jeryka. There were many people who wanted to help but just did not know what to do. This event really pulled everyone in the community, friends and family together to work on make this a success."
Rain or shine the ride goes on but finally in May Jeryka received some very welcome news. After three rounds of chemotherapy, tests showed a reduction or elimination of all the lesions.
"I had no unusual symptoms. No headaches, no dizziness, nothing unusual. The same goes for the spots in my lungs and on my liver," Jeryka said. "We caught everything so early and it was easier to treat at that point."
Marlene hopes Jeryka's Run raises $5,000 all of which will go towards medical bills. She's recruited friends, family and local businesses to volunteer and donate for the ride. Jeryka's Run is an 80-mile poker ride through the DeSoto, KS region and ends with an after-event party with food, a live band and an auction.
"We are estimating but think there should be at least 200 riders coming," Marlene said. "We are hoping for the sun to shine brightly on June 8."
Jeryka has two rounds of chemotherapy left before returning to Houston in July to get another CT scan, MRI and chest x-rays. The results of those tests determine the next course of action. She is engaged and plans to marry in the fall.
Registration for Jeryka's Run starts at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Silver Wheel Tavern, 8385 Penner Ave. in DeSoto, KS. Kickstands are up at 10:30 a.m. To read more about Jeryka and get ride information see the Jeryka Run website. Follow Jeryka and her fight against cancer by reading her blog.
Other Rides Scheduled this Weekend:
Americade June 4-9: Dubbed the World's Largest Touring Motorcycle Rally, Americade features rides all week among other activities in Lake George, NY.
Unions for Kids June 8: The 11th annual Union for Kids Poker Run is a benefit for Doernbecher Children's Hospital. Registration is from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday at IBEW Local 48, 15937 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR.
Gear for Tears June 8: The Pig Trail Chapter of Guardians of the Children hosts a poker run for victims of child abuse and their families. Registration is 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at D&D Cycle, 2525 W. Hudson Road, Rogers, AR. Register for this ride.
Ride for the Kids June 8: The Kentucky Vulcan Riders host the 4th annual Ride for the Kids which starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at Gateway Cycles, 1516 Colesbury Circle in Lexington, KY. Proceeds benefit the local Shriners Hospital for Children.here.
Hogs for Dogs June 8: Second annual poker run raises money for the Save a Dog Day non-profit. Kickstands up at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at Scooters Grill & Bar, 1911 Sego Court in Raleigh, NC.
Ride for the Red Shield June 8: The inaugural ride for the Salvation Army of Rochester, NH starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Salvation Army, 10 Olde Farm Lane in Rochester. Pre-registration ended so get there at 8:30 a.m. for $20 day of registration. Salvation Army website for more information.
Ride to Remember June 8: This 4th annual ride is in memory of Officer Michael Crenshaw who was ambushed and killed in the line of duty in 2009. Friends started a ride to honor him and today hundreds of riders attend. Proceeds benefit the Penn Hills Fallen Heroes Fund. Kickstands up at 10:30 a.m. at Linton Middle School, 250 Aster St. in Penn Hills, PA.
Roll-N-Ride June 9: A.B.A.T.E. of Oregon's Washington County chapter hosts their Roll-N-Ride at 11 a.m. Saturday at Beaverton Honda, 10380 Cascade Blvd. in Tigard, OR. Sign in is at 10 a.m.
Ride for Kids June 9: Ride for Kids benefits the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and features numerous rides throughout the country during the year. This weekend kickstands are up in Golden, CO and Cleveland, OH.