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Riding for a reason

July 19, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Motorcycle enthusiasts will have a chance on July 24 to get their motors running and head out on the highway with a police escort.

Proceeds from the ride, which include a $30 registration fee, will go to cover some of the medical costs of a Shippensburg, Pa., woman diagnosed with lupus.

For the second year, officers from the Hagerstown Police Department have organized a charity ride for motorcyclists, both officers and civilians. This year's destination is Mike's Famous Harley-Davidson in New Castle, Del., minutes from the Delaware Memorial Bridge and New Jersey border, said Sgt. Paul Kifer, one of the event's organizers.

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The trek is about 145 miles - 21/2 hours - each way.

Along the way, the riders will be escorted by motorcades provided by state police in Maryland and Delaware.

"We thought it'd be a nice ride, but not too far," Kifer said. "Mike's is appropriate because most of the guys, but not everyone, are Harley riders. We figured it'd be a place they would want to go."

Kifer said he and Officer Martin Pitsnogle decided to organize this year's event after the success of a charity ride in September to Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County, Md. That ride drew 40 riders and raised about $1,200 for Hagerstown Officer Tom Kelley, who was battling leukemia.

"After last year, with the good response, we wanted to make it an annual event," he said.

The recipient of the proceeds from this year's ride, Becky McSherry, has been fighting lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease.

As a result of the disease, McSherry sustained damage to some of her major organs, had a massive stroke and has been hospitalized 13 times. Earlier this year, she went to Chicago for four months of chemotherapy and an experimental stem-cell transplant at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The cost for the transplant is estimated at $100,000, according to staff at Northwestern.

Sgt. Johnny Murray said riders can register at the police department the day of the event.

"It benefits someone, and it's just a good opportunity for a lot of friends, not all police officers, to get together and enjoy the ride," said Murray, who will be riding his prized Harley-Davidson Sportster Custom.

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