HURON — Forty-six children are diagnosed with cancer each day and Paisley King, the daughter of Steven and Brooke King from Letcher, is one of those kids.
On Saturday, Cancer Ride - made up of a community of people led by Dawn Meyers - along with Development Officer of Sanford Health Foundation, Megan Kjose, presented a check of $10,000 to the Sanford Childrens Cure Cancer. Along with the check, the Cancer Ride gave gifts to the King family of hoodies, can koozies, poker chips, and bandanas.
“Most of us have been touched by cancer, one time or another, and so we just want to give something back. When it strikes with kids it’s pretty personal,” said Meyers, the organizer of Cancer Ride. “We’ve had multiple community events during the year, a whiskey and wine tasting in the spring, a pair of bean bag tournaments and a poker run in June.”
Meyers added that the group has also organized a pork raffle, as well as a freezer and a cooler. “We always had something going on. Getting the community to come out and support us, raising money in the community, getting donations; those are our biggest challenges.”
Paisley was diagnosed with liver cancer at the age of 6 months. The Kings were sent to Sioux Falls, to the Sanford Children’s Hospital Castle, where Paisley underwent four rounds of chemo.
“She was a very happy baby through the whole process,” said Brooke. “She got sick the very first round, and that was it, after that she never got sick, we were in and out, it didn’t really seem to phase her.” The King family went back to Sanford Hospital Castle after treatment, to see if the tumor on Paisley’s liver had shrunk enough to be removed. It had not.
They began two more rounds of chemo and on May 8, 2017, Paisley had surgery on part of her liver to remove the tumor. She then had two more rounds of chemo.
“She turned one on July 5 that summer and on July 21 was declared cancer free,” Brooke said. “She had brown hair during the chemo, but now it is blonde and curly.” Brooke sat with a broad smile on her face Saturday, while Paisley sat in her lap with her father nearby. Brooke added that Letcher and others gave a lot of community support. In March 2017, the Letcher community held a benefit for Paisley, and they raised more than $75,000. “The Cancer Ride also donated lots of items to Paisley’s benefit auction,” said King.
“Cancer Ride started in Woonsocket 15 years ago, it was just a few of us, then kept growing and growing,” said Jason Stigge, another one of the many that take part in Cancer Ride. Stigge continued to say that they change the name of the organization every year, and one year even did Dam Cancer Ride, where they rode to a dam to support cancer.
Stigge is one of many who has lost loved ones to cancer. “Our purpose has always been to help people with cancer,” Stigge said.
Meyers said that the best part is giving the money that has been raised. “It’s fulfilling, getting together and seeing the support the people give toward the cause. She thanked Thunderbird Liquors, Missy Decker and the Red Arrow’s, Melanie Worrall, saying they wouldn’t of been able to do a lot of this without their support.
Stigge noted that although there are no events on the books for the coming year, the organization will be kicking off it’s 16th year of raising funds to fight cancer in January.