SALEM - A cycling group trying to raise money to help cancer patients and their families will hold a benefit night Saturday at Ricky's English Pub from 5 p.m. until closing time.
Any money raised will then go toward The Cardinal's Peloton team goal of $20,000 for the American Cancer Society's 2012 Pan Ohio Hope Ride, cycling's version of Relay for Life, when team members mount their bikes for a 342-mile, four-day journey from Cleveland to Cincinnati July 26-29.
"The goal is to make as big of an impact as we can," Salem resident Jason Murray said.
Ricky's English Pub owner Rick Metts meets with The Cardinal's Peloton founders and team members Eric Murray, left, and his brother Jason, right, to finalize plans for a benefit night Saturday from 5 p.m. to closing time at the Salem restaurant to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The Murray brothers and the cycling team they founded to honor their late father will count the funds toward their goal for the 2012 Pan Ohio Hope Ride, a 342-mile bicycle ride later this month which benefits the two Ohio ACS Hope Lodges, where cancer patients and their families can stay for free while receiving treatments far from home. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)
Jason and his brother, Eric, also of Salem, are two of the 13 members of The Cardinal's Peloton, a team of cyclists, many with Salem connections, who have all been touched by cancer in their lives through family members or friends who have had the disease.
Last year, they held a bike ride in Salem as a fundraiser for the Hope ride, but this year they decided to try something different and teamed up with Rick Metts, owner of Ricky's English Pub.
"I've done a lot of fundraising and raised money for the American Cancer Society in the past, ever since I opened," Metts said, nothing that his daughter's mother died from cancer. "I've seen a lot of the devastating effect cancer has on a family."
He agreed to donate 15 percent of total sales for the day to ACS for The Cardinal's Peloton team total for the Hope ride. He's also offering food and drink specials for the night. Monetary donations will be accepted, also.
The Murrays said they're appreciative of Metts' efforts to help their cause. They'll have three raffle baskets available and a 50/50, with tickets costing $1 each or 6 for $5. One basket will contain lottery tickets, another basket will be a Salem community basket featuring donations of services and merchandise from local businesses and the third basket will come from Eric's fellow employees at Alliance Community Hospital.
Eric said they decided on the benefit night because they wanted people to get something in return for helping, like a fun night out. This will be the third year for The Cardinal's Peloton to take part in the Hope ride, last year raising nearly $8,000 as a team.
The Hope ride itself is in its sixth year, with proceeds benefiting the ACS Hope Lodges in Cleveland and
Cincinnati, which provide a place to stay for free for cancer patients and their families while the patient is receiving extended treatments far away from home. Last year, more than half a million dollars was raised.
Jason rode in the Hope ride three years ago and thoughts about his late father, James "Lex" Murray, and the battle he waged kept him going so he could finish the ride. Eric joined him last year.
The team name refers to their father, who liked birds. After he passed away, their mom, Carole, prayed for a sign that he was okay and a cardinal showed up on the porch and stayed awhile.
The word "peloton" refers to the main group of cyclists in a race. In this case, it refers to the team riding for his dad and so many others who have suffered from the disease.
"For Eric and I, obviously this is something for our dad, but everybody has their own story, all of our teammates. It's gotten bigger than our own interests," Jason said.
Other team members include: Dave Hughes, Jerry King, Brian Martin and Chris Mull, all of Salem; Joe Mueller, formerly of Salem, now of Kentucky; Dave Shroades of Columbiana; Chris Webb, of Findlay; Andy Mull, formerly of Salem, now of Florida; and Justin Jeffers, Tiffany Jeffers and Matt Hite, all of Canal Fulton.
"Cancer impacts so many people in so many different ways. It makes you realize how much of an impact it's had on people's lives and how people want to do something positive," Eric said about the Hope ride.
Many participants in the Hope ride are cancer survivors themselves. For information about the Hope ride or to donate to The Cardinal's Peloton team total, visit the website at www.panohiohoperide.org.