Raising funds for not one -but two - local twin toddler sisters battling cancer, a poker run for Samantha and Ashley will be held Sunday, riding throughout Cape Coral for a cause, with sign-up at 10 a.m., first bikes heading out an hour later.
It all started soon before Christmas last year, when one of the 3-year-old twin girls, Ashley's, leg swelled up. Going to the hospital, the doctors found a large mass. A couple weeks later, they found that her twin, Samantha, had an even larger mass. After numerous and extensive blood work, MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds and other tests, doctors found out that both girls have a rare form of leukemia, now both going through chemotherapy.
Ashley's and Samantha's parents say that their two young girls are true fighters, and it's horrible watching them go through the therapy, but one thing that's come out from this is seeing that there are still good people left in this world; good people showing that they are not alone in the fight.
After a wealth of support and persistence from the community, this very special poker run was scheduled to raise funds for these two little Cape Coral angels.
Sign-up for the benefit poker run will start at 10 a.m., Sunday, at Ralph's Place in the Big John's Plaza, off of Cape Coral Parkway, Cape Coral, that Sunday. Lending their full support for the cause, a large group of Fort Myers Beach riders have also gathered to help raise funds for the girls and their fight.
"Nicole and Bobby of Ralph's Place looked to our beach crew for help and with this being such a great cause you know we're all on board. We always ride for a reason," said Mike DeCarlo, coordinator of the Fort Myers Beach group of riders. "We're asking everyone to come together and ride for this wonderful benefit, because that's what we do, we ride for a cause. Bikes, cars, trucks, mopeds, everyone is welcome to ride with us. The amount of things you get for the cost to ride is unbelievable breakfast, lunch, live music all day and knowing you're helping these two sweet little angels, it should be a no-brainer to join us Sunday morning."
After signing up and enjoying a hearty breakfast offered to all poker-runners at Ralph's Place (included in the cost of participating), riders will hit the road at 11 a.m. bikers, trucks, cars, mopeds and a charter bus to its first stop, Woody's at Surfside (Cape Coral), followed by Miceli's (Matlacha), then to Crossroads (Cape Coral), and then to Anthony's on the Blvd. (Cape Coral), then returning to Ralph's Place for a celebratory barbecue lunch and after-run party, complete with a meat smoker and array of barbecued goodness, 50/50s, raffles, prizes, giveaways, a dunk tank, live music from a few great local groups and a very special money-making machine.
"We'll even have a money machine, from Sandy at Good Times Amusement, which will be loaded with $2,500 in cash," he said. "And so many of our great local businesses donated to the raffles and silent auctions at the after-run party hotel stays, gift certificates, jetski rides. I'm always impressed with our community businesses and volunteers, and how much they're always willing to help such a great cause."
Each and every stop will be offering poker-runners something special that day, whether it's food and drinks, appetizers, live music or special gifts, raffles and prizes, and DeCarlo is eager to boast that this is a nice 36-mile ride, so you can really get some wind in your hair.
The cost to participate is $20 for any bike, car or truck, and $10 per additional rider. To sign up, call Nicole, 239-549-2040.
If you'd like to make a donation toward the girls' fund but can't make it to the event, a check can be made out to "Ralph's Place Charities: (ID# 47-1054034)," 1305 Cape Coral Parkway E, Cape Coral, FL 33904.
"I want to send a big thanks to Nicole and Bobby of Ralph's Place for putting this great fundraiser together," DeCarlo said. "Our Beach people are happy to help this cause, and we know Cape Coral is really going to step up and show the community what it means to come together and ride for a reason. Come out Sunday and support a wonderful cause."