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Riding toward a cure: Memorial motorcycle ride benefits local breast cancer chapter

July 14, 2013|By MARIE GILBERT | marieg@herald-mail.com
  • Jennifer Kelly rides with Dave Carroll during a benefit ride in 2007 that was held to help pay her medical expenses. Carroll had a helmet made for her and each year the memorial ride is held, the helmet is on the front of Carrolls bike.
Submitted photo

WILLIAMSPORT — Penny Fraker misses her friend.

She misses talking to her every day on the telephone.

She misses her loving attitude and graciousness.

She misses the woman who made her a better person.

Jennifer Kelly died in April of 2008, after a four-year battle with breast cancer. During those years, she willed herself to become a warrior. Instead, she became a statistic, leaving behind her husband, Mike, and two children, as well as hundreds of people whose lives she had touched.

At her memorial service, Fraker said, there was standing room only.

“Jen always found the good in every person,” she said. “She was the most amazing woman.”

Kelly was 34 years old when she was diagnosed in 2004 with stage three breast cancer, which is considered an advanced stage of the disease.

The Walkersville, Md., woman faced her cancer with courage — enduring surgery, radiation and other forms of treatment.

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But it advanced to stage four breast cancer in 2007, and the battle became a lot tougher, Fraker said.

She passed away one year later.

As a way to honor the person who had a big influence on their lives, Jennifer Kelly’s friends organized a memorial motorcycle ride in 2009, with all proceeds going to Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley.  It has since become an annual event.

This year’s ride will be held on Sunday, Aug. 4, with registration beginning at 10 a.m. at The Improved Order of Red Men Conococheague Tribe 84 in Williamsport.

Riders will leave the club at 11:45 a.m., travel to Rouzerville, where they will stay for about an hour, then travel back to Williamsport for lunch provided by the Red Men. Entertainment by Sharpening Stone will follow from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.

While the memorial ride has been held the past four years, Fraker said a benefit ride was held for Kelly in 2007 to help pay for her medical expenses.

“Jen was among the riders,” Fraker said. “She rode with my brother-in-law, Dave Carroll, and she loved it. It was very inspirational for everyone involved. Jen had big bikers shedding tears.”

Carroll had a helmet especially made for Jen that first year, Fraker added, and each year “when we have her memorial ride, it is on the front of Dave’s bike.”

Fraker said she met Jennifer Kelly in 1997, “when we started working together at Citi. Jen soon became like my sister. I miss her so very much.”

Helping to organize the benefit ride, she said, is just one way to keep her friend’s memory alive.

“Each year, it gets bigger,” Fraker noted. “Last year, we had 105 motorcycles.”

The event also is a way to help Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley, Fraker said. “Normally, we raise between $2,000 and $3,000. We’re hoping to raise even more this year.”

Fraker said organizers are asking for a donation of $15 per person or $25 per couple.

“This includes your lunch when we return from the ride,” she added.

Fraker said the BCACV, an independent nonprofit agency, uses the proceeds raised from the ride to provide women with little or no medical coverage the opportunity to receive a mammogram at no cost. The agency also provides information and support, including a toll-free Hopeline, a wig and prosthesis bank and gift cards for chemotherapy patients and radiation patients to provide a meal for their families following treatment.

Fraker said people are encouraged to register in advance for the upcoming motorcycle ride on BCACV’s website.

“This will be our fifth year of celebrating Jen’s life,” Fraker said. “I’m hoping people will come out and support a great cause.”

If you go ...

WHAT: Jennifer Kelly Memorial Ride, followed by lunch and entertainment

WHEN:  Sunday, Aug. 4, with registration at 10 a.m., departure at 11:45 a.m.

WHERE:  The Improved Order of Red Men Conococheague Tribe 84, 16129 Lappans Road, Williamsport

COST:  A donation of $15 per rider, $25 double riders. Nonriders, $10 donation.

MORE:  Call Penny Fraker at 301-991-1250 or email pennyfraker@gmail.com. Register in advance online at www.bcacv.org. Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley can be found at its website: www.bcacv.org

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