Ride 4 thEM is a 501(c)3 organization that was established to make a difference in the lives of families stricken with the financial burdens of caring for a child with a life threatening illness.
In 2010 my husband Chet turned 50. He had set a goal for himself to do a double century (200 miles) bicycle ride in one day. We were talking together and decided instead of doing this just “because”, why not do it for a “cause”? We knew some family friends that were going through a rough season. That February they found out that their 10 year old daughter (Emily Hunt) was diagnosed for the 2nd time with Leukemia. This put such an emotional stress on the family and a heavy financial burden as well. The lord laid it on our hearts to help them; therefore Ride 4 Em was born. We shared our ambition with a few girls and just ran with it! We started out by sending letters to everyone that we did business with, local businesses, family, friends and local churches asking to sponsor Chet in order to help raise money for the Hunt family. We got a huge response! We opened the event up to the community by adding a 5k run/walk, a sand volleyball tournament, bake sale, bounce house/kids tent and a full covered meal. We held the event at the Pymatuning Main Beach (Andover,OH). The radio station 101.7 FM came and announced right from the beach! Chet and his brotherinlaw, Rick Fischer, completed the whole 200 mile ride! They rolled in as we lined the path of the finish line with headlights from our cars with the song, “That’s What Faith Can Do”, blaring in the background. It was a very emotional day! We deemed Ride 4 Em a huge success! Sadly, Emily couldn’t be there because she was in the hospital recovering from a successful cord blood transplant. One day while visiting with Em, she suggested Chet do another ride so that she could be there. She also thought that we could help someone else, and mentioned a 13 year old boy named Kyle Mason, who is battling Dysautonomia, a disease that involves dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. Therefore Ride 4 Em was riding again! Since that decision in May of 2011 a lot has happened to our Emily! So to make a long story short we actually almost lost her! She caught pneumonia and with that a horrible viral infection that attacked every organ in her body except for her brain. She was in Rainbow Babies & Children’s PICU for months! But through the power of prayer and a miracle working god, our Emily is once again a survivor! She is truly a trophy of god’s healing! So as Emily requested, Ride 4 Em rode again. This time we gave our title a little twist. We added “th” before Em to make it “Ride 4 thEM”. We were able to help Emily’s family and Kyle’s family in our second year. We are very excited that since then Ride 4 thEM has became a nonprofit organization, with Emily being an active part of our team. The Ride 4 thEM team has decided to continue this event for years to come because there will always be a “thEM”.
Chet and Christy Paul
founders of Ride 4 thEM
(written May 2012)