The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 17, 2013

Pymatuning beach event will aid families with ill children

By LORI PINELLI
For the Star Beacon

— Supporters of Ride 4 thEM will be enjoying a day at the beach while helping others.

The fun fundraiser, that benefits local families with seriously ill children, will take place Saturday, July 27, at Pymatuning State Park Main Beach in Andover. The public is welcome to join in the events or spectate, relax and eat homemade food. Registration starts at 8 a.m. for sporting events, with more information available at ride4them.org. The festivities wrap up at 5 p.m.

The annual gathering began in 2010 when Christy Paul and her husband, Chet, sought to help the Hunt family.  Young Emily Hunt was ailing with leukemia and her parents were also dealing with the resultant financial burdens. Chet Paul and his brother-in-law, Rick Fischer, from Meadville Pa., rode their bikes 200 miles to raise funds for the family. The charity was dubbed “Ride 4 EM” for Emily. She was in the hospital after having a cord blood transplant during the first fundraiser. Hunt, who is now well, asked that the charity continue to help other children with life-threatening illnesses. The name became  Ride 4 thEM and grew to include the Century Bike Ride, 25 mile Bike Ride, 5k Run/Walk, Sand Volleyball Tournament, Motorcycle Run, Kid's Bike Challenge & Safety Zone, Kid's Activities Tent, Chinese Auction , 50/50 Raffle and more.

Money raised from the activities this year will benefit the families of Mason Thorr of Kingsville, Micah Self of Rome and Abbey Breckenridge from Streetsboro, Pa. The three children are battling life-threatening conditions. Micah Self’s father said that he would like to tell every parent to watch for fatigue, and after that pain, in their children.

 “The great thing about this cause is that the money goes directly to the families,” said Mike Sheets of Premix in Ashtabula. “There are more than medical expenses, even gas to drive to Cleveland every day. I’m blessed that my children are healthy. Over twenty Premix employees will be doing the walk/run, motorcycle, and bike rides. Others, who can’t come, are donating,” he said.

Michele Arcaro, another co-worker, is among five pedaling 100 miles.  “The Composites Group, which is Premix and Hadlock Plastics, is very excited to be able to give to those in need in our own local community,” she said.

Co-worker Mike Morehouse said that he cycled in the 2012 bike ride just for fun.  Morehouse didn’t know much about Ride 4 thEM at the time.

“Some of the details of what these families go through so moving. It makes me realize just how lucky we are.  This year, my co-worker and friend, Dave Ray, an avid bike rider, suggested to management that we formally adopt them,” he said.   

Lori Anservitz, of Ashta Chemicals, said that their company is supporting Ride 4 thEM through their charitable giving committee. Ashta Chemicals paid the registration fees for all their employees who are participating. They are biking, running and have a sand volleyball team.

The Andover Dairy Queen has been collecting “Change 4 Change” with the proceeds going to Ride 4 thEM . Karen Taylor, the owner, said that they have already collected $1,200, though her goal is $2,500. Dairy Queen workers volunteering at Pymatuning Beach will be cheering on the all-girl volleyball team that DQ is sponsoring.

 “Change 4 Change” was also given to Ride 4 thEM by students in Pymatuning Valley, Grand Valley, Kingsville Elementary and Meadville Schools.

Other Andover sponsors include Mega-Bytes Computer Service and Herbert’s Pharmacy. Sunburst Environmental Services of Cortland is supporting the charity as well.

Assistant Pastor, Steve Arsulic, of Eagleville Bible Church, said that his church, among others, is volunteering or giving financial help. They include Andover United Methodist, Andover Christian and Linesville Baptist.

"The beauty of this is how it grew, was blessed and gained momentum. It’s become more far-reaching to families in our area,” said Arsulic.

“I battled Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and empathize with the children. It’s personal to me. Today Emily is a vibrant, young girl. You can see victory in her recovery. It’s a great thing,” he said.

Donations to Ride 4 thEM can be made at any Huntington Bank location or by mail at

Ride 4 thEM, c/o Chet & Christy Paul, 5947 Chestnut St. Andover, OH 44003.