By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
About 150 motorcyclists traveled from Cleveland to Austintown for a good cause.
The Dieter Motorcycle Run started at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and ended at Harley-Davidson Bike Town on Interstate Boulevard.
Tom Wromkovich, owner of Bike Town, worked with Dieter, a personality on the “Rover’s Morning Glory” show on Cleveland radio station WMMS, to plan and promote the event. The bike run, on Saturday, was a fundraiser for Be the Match, a bone marrow transplant group.
But the event was more than a fundraiser, Wromkovich said.
“We’re trying to just make awareness of [Be the Match] and get donors, as well as raise some funds for them,” Wromkovich said.
When Wromkovich presented the idea, Tonya Davis, account executive with Be the Match, thought it was a great opportunity to give people the chance to join the bone marrow registry.
The event is “actually giving people the chance to be a cure for cancer,” she said. “Raising funds is great, but everybody actually has the opportunity to be a cure by joining the bone-marrow registry. So this is a really great way to really be active and do more than just throw money at a cause.”
Potential donors must meet age and health guidelines. Registration is done with a swab of cheek cells. That sample is tissue-typed to match patients in need of a transplant. Usually, a patient has multiple matches, Davis said. About 1 in 540 people who join the registry will actually donate bone marrow.
Cathy Stitts of Chesterland participated in the bike run. She rides with her husband, Phil Stitts.
“It was a good day,” she said.
Stitts said she enjoys participating in bike runs.
“I like the whole group,” she said. “I like the energy that’s in the group, its camaraderie. It seems like bikers really are good people, in general, and they care, so it’s just a lot of fun. You make a lot of good friends.”
Many of the runs they join benefit various organizations.
“I think it’s nice that you’re giving to someone for a good cause,” she said.
The event also included a cook-out and music by the band Northern Whale.
Wromkovich said the run generated between $500 and $1,000 for Be the Match. Several people joined the bone- marrow registry, Davis said.