St. Jude Bike-a-thon this Weekend: Man on a Mission

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By Mia Freneaux
    Another year, another Bike-a-thon!  This year, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and Chuck Langlois has a dream.  After raising $6000 at last year’s event, Chuck wants to surpass that amount this year, but he needs your help!  
    St. Jude began with a promise.  Actor Danny Thomas prayed for career guidance to St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes, and promised he would build a shrine to the saint.  In 1962, that promise became reality when St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened its doors for the first time.  50 years later, it is still fulfilling Thomas’ dream that “no child should die in the dawn of life.”  Treating everything from Pediatric AIDS to Sickle Cell Anemia to an incredible number of various types of cancer, the massive complex, one of the premier facilities in the world, exists solely due to grant money and DONATIONS FROM INDIVIDUALS LIKE YOU AND ME.  7800 children are seen each year; none are turned away because they cannot afford to pay for treatment.
    Chuck became involved 29 years ago, and never dreamed his involvement would eventually end up helping one of his own family.  But several years ago, his niece, Kenlie, was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma.  Thanks to the research and care of St. Jude, Kenlie has been in remission for 2 years now.  This gives Chuck’s passion a definite edge.  There is nothing this man won’t do to help the Bikeathon succeed, including finding donors, prizes, baked goods, and even taking a turn on a bike himself.  This is a feat that is amazing in itself because Chuck suffered a brain aneurysm 20 years ago that left him physically challenged.  Though he has to strap his foot to the bike pedal, he still every year takes a lap himself, a truly inspirational sight.
    This year, the Bikeathon is dedicated to a very special gentleman.  A.C. “Tommy” Thomas participated in the Bikeathon for about 25 years, until he was 90 years old!!  His wife Wilma also supported the effort by fundraising and punching lap cards. The only reason he quit pedaling then was that he was knocked over by an overly enthusiastic biker and Wilma put her foot down.  He then punched lap cards til he was 93!  Tommy passed away this year, and his family honored his commitment to this great cause by asking for donations in his memory to St. Jude.  “Tommy must have raised about $10,000 over the years for St. Jude.  His motivation?  He had a good heart,” Chuck shared.
    Once again, prizes will be awarded to the oldest participant, the youngest participant, and the one who bikes the most laps.  Chris Ferrara of Ferrara Fire Apparatus is again donating brand new bikes for the two biggest fund raisers.  Stephanie Sanders of All About U Massage will be offering complementary chair massages and eyebrow waxing, any tips she receives will be donated to St. Jude.  Many other local businesses have stepped forward with door prizes.  Chuck has truly poured his heart into this one day event.  Come on, Central!  Let’s bring our town’s great heart to this great event and honor his faithfulness!  You can pick up sponsor forms at Sullivan’s Hardware, CrossRoads Animal Hospital, or call Chuck at 603-6100.  St. Jude Bikeathon, Saturday May 12, 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., Bellingrath Hills Elementary School.

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