Eckert is at center of 2018 Ride 2 Provide Aug. 18

Rachel Murchland Eckert (second from left) will be the beneficiary of this year’s Ride 2 Provide, which is set for Saturday, Aug. 18, at Markle Park. Eckert, a Markle native, was diagnosed with stage four metastatic colon cancer in December of last year. Also pictured are (from left) Eckert’s daughter, Macy Eckert; Eckert’s husband, Jeremy; and Eckert’s son, Max.
Rachel Murchland Eckert (second from left) will be the beneficiary of this year’s Ride 2 Provide, which is set for Saturday, Aug. 18, at Markle Park. Eckert, a Markle native, was diagnosed with stage four metastatic colon cancer in December of last year. Also pictured are (from left) Eckert’s daughter, Macy Eckert; Eckert’s husband, Jeremy; and Eckert’s son, Max. Photo provided.

The 13th annual Ride 2 Provide is set for Saturday, Aug. 18, at Markle Park.

While the motorcycle ride that the event is known for will commence at noon, a variety of other activities will be taking place both before and after that time.

The aim of all those activities is the same: raising funds for a good cause.

This year, Markle native Rachel Murchland Eckert is at the center of that cause. Eckert is battling stage four metastatic colon cancer, says Ride 2 Provide Coordinator Lesa Asher. The 39-year-old has undergone chemotherapy treatments and underwent surgery on Aug. 1. All proceeds from Ride 2 Provide will go to her, her husband and two children to assist them with the cost of medical bills.

Asher founded Ride 2 Provide in 2005 and says it’s never been a challenge identifying someone to support with the event.

“It’s almost like every year God drops somebody in our lap,” she remarks.

Registration for the motorcycle ride will begin at 11 a.m. There is a fee to participate, which includes a Ride 2 Provide T-shirt. The ride’s route will feature six stops over the course of 88 miles. At each stop, riders will select a playing card, which will have a numerical value associated with it. That value will be recorded on a card that riders keep with them. At the end of the ride, the numbers on all the cards will get added up and the three riders with the top totals will receive prizes.

Riders will have door prizes to look forward to as well.

A few hours prior to the ride, people will be departing Markle Park on foot as compared to wheels. The Markle Area Chamber of Commerce has organized a 5K run that will commence at 8 a.m. All proceeds from the race will go to Ride 2 Provide.

Also at 8 a.m., a biscuits-and-gravy breakfast will be served at the park. The breakfast will run until 11 a.m. and the cost will be a freewill donation.

A disc golf tournament is set for 1:30 p.m., with registration beginning an hour prior. Organized by Markle United Methodist Church, the tourney will see teams of two vying for cash prizes, which will go to the first and second-place squads.

A slate of activities for children will commence at 2 p.m. Young attendees will be able to jump around in a bounce house, plunge someone in a dunk tank, ride ponies, participate in a cake walk, have their face painted and receive a balloon animal.

Cookies & Canvas, a painting activity for children ages 5 through 12, will also start at 2 p.m. Sponsored by Worster Farms and Muddy Feet Preschool, the event is limited to 30 participants and will run until 4 p.m. To sign up, call Jen Bailey at 414-1066.

Young and old alike will be able to play a game of Bingo, starting at 2 p.m. Games will be played until 4 p.m.
Throughout the day, attendees will be able to place bids in a silent auction. Fifty items will be available, says Asher, with bids accepted until 6 p.m.

There will also be a live auction, starting around 4:30 p.m.

Asher says her goal is to have all the motorcycles that participate in the ride back to the park by 4:30 p.m. Their return will coincide with the start of the event’s benefit meal. Pulled pork by Fat John’s BBQ will be served, along with hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans and applesauce. The cost is a freewill donation. Carryout will be available.

Prior to all of the festivities on Saturday, the Markle Volunteer Fire Department will hold an open house on Friday, Aug. 17, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served at the first-time event, with freewill donations accepted. All proceeds will be donated to Ride 2 Provide, which Asher is grateful for.

“We’ve got other organizations that are jumping in and stepping up and wanting to help us out,” she says.

Anyone wanting to donate to Ride 2 Provide can mail a contribution to 3398 E. Markle Rd., Huntington. For more information, Asher can be reached at 438-8635.

The proceeds from the event will be given to the Eckert family in September, says Asher.

Coordinating the event each year may be a lot of work, but Asher says being able to lend a helping hand to someone in the community makes it all worthwhile.

“I started this 13 years ago for a friend that had breast cancer,” she says. “She was a single lady and I just wanted to do something to help her out … It’s been a passion of mine.”