The first ride held in Twist McKeever's honor was to raise funds for "Jaws of Life" rescue equipment for the Yantis Volunteer Fire Department.
"Dalton was trapped in his truck on the side of the road for many hours," recalled Carol McKeever Darlin of her late husband. "Our hope was for other families in the community to never have to endure this."
With proceeds from the past two bike rallies, as well as other fundraising events, Yantis VFD was finally able to purchase the equipment in January.
For the past two years proceeds have been divided among Yantis VFD and a local family in need of help due to medical treatments.
Last year, the family of Larry Gore, who was battling cancer, was the recipient.
This year the Twist of Life ride will benefit 20-year-old Robert Castleberry, a 2006 graduate of Sulphur Springs High School diagnosed with Neuroblastoma.
In November of 2008, Castleberry began having severe back pain and had to quit his job. On New Year's Eve 2009, he ended up in the emergency room of Trinity Mother Francis where doctors did CAT scans and MRI's before referring him to Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth where he was diagnosed.
Neuroblastoma is a cancer usually found in children under age 5.
Castleberry began chemotherapy in January and has been very receptive to the treatments. His tumor has shrunk approximately 25 percent. In March the young man underwent stem cell collection for a stem cell transplant.
He will begin round five of chemo at the end of April.
"We just wanted to do something to help the family," said Sherri Baker, a long-time friend of McKeevers who helps organize the bike rally each year. "Both his parents work for Grocery Supply where I work. His mother is having to take off quite a bit to be with Robert, and his dad works, handles the house and a younger child still at home."
The Twist of Life Bike Rally and Poker Run through East Texas begins with registration at the Grocery Supply parking lot at 9:30 a.m. The first bike out will be at 10:30 a.m. with stops in Winnsboro, Mount Vernon, Scroggins, and end in Yantis at East Fork Restaurant where owners Dennis and Shirlee Frazier will provide a taco bar for participants.
"Our community is always so good to come together for a worthy cause," said Baker. "You don't have to ride to help out. People can come out for moral support, maybe buy a T-shirt or even do the ride in a vehicle."
The Poker Run is $25 a hand or three for $50. Riders will draw a card at each stop and points will be tallied at the end of the ride. High point payout is $250 with the low point payout $150.
Raffle tickets can also be purchased for a 50/50 cash pot.
For more information call 903-885-8397.
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