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Bikers go the distance for Becky

Motorcycle riders go the distance for Becky

Motorcycle riders go the distance for Becky

July 25, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

When Matt Twigg read about a charity motorcycle ride Saturday to benefit Becky McSherry, a Pennsylvania woman with lupus, he jumped at the chance to help a woman he didn't even know.

"I'm here for Becky," said the retired Maryland State Police trooper as he paid a $30 registration fee to ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle on the 145-mile trek to Mike's Famous Harley-Davidson in New Castle, Del., and back to Hagerstown.

Twigg lost his wife, Alice, to Lou Gehrig's Disease on their 44th wedding anniversary in March. "She's also the reason I'm riding," Twigg said of the event organized by several Hagerstown City Police officers.

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He met McSherry, who was present at the starting point Saturday at police headquarters on Burhans Boulevard. She and her family members said they were grateful to the riders supporting her on the ride.

"These people don't even know me," she said.

The $400 raised Saturday will help pay for recent experimental stem cell treatment McSherry underwent in Chicago.

"I was one of only 40 subjects in this testing in the past seven years," she said. "I've been home two months and am still waiting to hear the results."

Diagnosed with the inflammatory disease while she was pregnant with her youngest son, Braden, now 4, McSherry and her family live in Shippensburg, Pa., but have family members in Hagerstown.

"Ever since I was 13, I have had rashes, fatigue, unusual blood count readings and unexplained fevers," McSherry said. Numerous hospitalizations and the $100,000 stem cell treatment have strained the family's financial situation.

A round of chemotherapy was followed by the stem cell treatment, using stem cells harvested from McSherry before the chemotherapy.

"I got sung to every night while I was in the hospital in Chicago," McSherry said. The serenade took the form of "Jesus Loves Me" performed over the telephone by her sons Braden and Tyler, 5.

"I told her God was looking out for her," Tyler said Saturday.

Sgt. Paul Kifer and Officer Marty Pitsnogle organized the second annual ride and both rode Saturday, although they were disappointed that only 16 riders signed up.

A charity ride last September to Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County attracted 40 riders and raised about $1,200 for Hagerstown Police Officer Tom Kelley, who was battling leukemia.

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