Kruisers for Kids helps teens battling cancer

June 14, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

SHARPSBURG -- Josh Forsythe had hoped to attend a fundraiser held Sunday for him and another local teenager battling an aggressive form of cancer.

However, Josh, 15, a Williamsport High School student, was recovering from his 13th round of chemotherapy. Family members of Katie Stains, a recent Williamsport High graduate, said she was healing from a recent surgery to remove a large tumor from her leg, but that she hoped to arrive at the truck, car and motorcycle show later in the day.

The fundraiser for the two teenagers, both suffering from Ewing's Sarcoma, was held at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center along Sharpsburg Pike, about five miles south of Hagerstown.

The cruise-in was organized by Kruisers for Kids, and Stacey Harbaugh, of Hagerstown, said it's the first time the organization has raised money for two children at the same event.


Sunday's fundraiser featured vehicles, but also had pony rides, monster truck rides, music from five local bands and carnival-type attractions.

Just two hours into the event, volunteers estimated that there were more than 200 spectators, and more than 100 cars and trucks and at least 40 motorcycles were on display.

Harbaugh said she hoped to raise at least $10,000, which would be split evenly between the two families to pay for medical expenses and other needs.

Tom Fahey of Hagerstown, Josh's uncle, was volunteering at Sunday's event. He said Josh, who was diagnosed last year, wanted to attend, but was recovering at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. He had a letter from Josh's parents to the event volunteers, which he shared with The Herald-Mail.

"We are taking everything on a day-by-day basis," his parents, Scott and Ann, say in the letter. "Our faith in God, as well as Josh's, along with his sense of humor, has given us the courage we have needed to remain positive."

His parents also said Josh should have just one more chemotherapy treatment after this weekend, and possibly 10 more radiation treatments. He already has undergone 31 radiation treatments.

Frankie Banca, 20, of Johnstown, Pa., said he is Katie's cousin, and reported that an operation to remove a large tumor was successful, and that the tumor was benign.

"Katie has a spirit inside of her that I've never seen on anybody," Banca said. "At graduation last week, she was nothing but smiles. Katie is really something."

Many of those who attended Sunday's fundraiser had never met Katie or Josh, but said they wanted to help raise funds for their care.

Dave and Kelly West of Halfway rode with the Blue Collar Riding Club that brought 20 motorcyclists to the event. Dave West said the group participates in a lot of charity events, especially for sick children.

"The fact that it was two local teens ... we just wanted to help," he said.

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