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Ghiaciuc hosts charity motorcycle ride to fight leukemia



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July 21, 2010 - Eric Ghiaciuc, a 2006 graduate of Oxford High School, made a special trip to his home town to host the first annual Rubber & Roads charity motorcycle ride on Saturday, July 10 in order to raise money for a cause that's dear to his heart.

Ghiaciuc put together the charity ride to honor the passing of his brother Bryan's fiancée, Anna, who passed away on January 5, 2010 after being diagnosed with Leukemia on December 31, 2009.

"She was like a little sister to me, and I wanted to do something to honor her," Ghiaciuc said.

So he came up with the idea of a bike ride because, according to Ghiaciuc, that was the best way that he could think of honoring her above anything else.

"She didn't have a chance, so that was kind of a motivation for us (and) to Eric in his effort to do this drive," said Ghiaciuc's sister Kelly LeRoy. She said that it was a way to honor her and do something special for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

"He organized the whole ride. He had t-shirts made, patches for the rider's vest and he went around to local businesses to get sponsors and donations all in the effort to raise money," LeRoy added.

According to Ghiaciuc, the event brought out 75 motorcycles and raised approximately $6,000. A lot of Ghiaciuc's friends from the Mt. Pleasant area, where he currently lives came down to help support Ghiaciuc and his family with their fundraiser.

LeRoy said that she knew most of the riders, but that some people were showing up because they knew that it was a charity ride and they wanted to participate.

"That was kind of a nice way to all get together and raise money for a good cause and help other people who are living with and fighting leukemia," said LeRoy. "It turned our really well and everyone was very complimentary of how well it went and just the amount of generosity of all the bikers."

The event kicked off with all of the participants registering their motorcycles at the Oxford Tap before heading out on the road.

From the Tap, the group traveled out Lakeville Rd. and took back roads all the way up to Madden's Lounge in Davison before riding over to Bullfrogs in Ortonville. After stopping at Bullfrogs, the group traveled to Boomers Roadhouse in Waterford before swinging by ABC Warehouse in Waterford.

A dinner of pulled pork sandwiches and hot dogs were served to the participants when they returned from the bike ride.

In addition to the bike ride, there was a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle and many prizes.

Items for the silent auction included a 42-inch plasma TV, signed National Football League gear from Ghiaciuc, who was recently released from the Cleveland Browns, and gear from his former teammates

According to LeRoy, Mike, the owner of the Tap, was extremely helpful throughout the entire day. "He participated in the whole event, letting us use his bar as a point of reference and making sure that our huge party was well-taken care of," she said.

Both LeRoy and Ghiaciuc want to make this an annual fundraising event.

"I think for the first time we did really well," said Ghiaciuc. "It was an event where kids were running around; it was a safe, comfortable, family environment, but yet it was a motorcycle ride."

"It was kind of an emotional, yet fun day all at the same time," LeRoy added.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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