Sunday, August 30, 2009

Project 365 and Poker Run

Volunteers from Kroger, Southern Illinois Healthcare and the American Cancer Society registered riders for the annual Run for the Fund, a benefit for the Coach Kill Cancer Fund. (By Marilyn Halstead / The Southern)

Annual Poker Run for the Fund draws hundreds of riders
By Marilyn Halstead, The Southern
Sunday, August 30, 2009 12:52 AM CDT

DU QUOIN -- More than 1,400 motorcycle riders took part in the annual Poker Run for the Fund. Many, like Carla Jones and Cindy Ruble of Carbondale, rode because their lives have been touched by cancer.

The event benefits the Coach Kill Cancer Fund, which was set up by former Saluki football coach Jerry Kill and Southern Illinois Healthcare to help cancer patients.

Tears welled up in Jones' eyes as she remembered her God mother, grandmother, boyfriend, aunts, uncles and friends who had cancer and talked about what a good cause the Coach Kill Cancer Fund is.

"We are trying to give back," Ruble said.

"And we want to get out and enjoy this nice weather," Jones added.

Jeremy and Sacha Cobin of Christopher make their schedule around this poker run because the cause is good. Jeremy also said he feels a little safer during this poker run than when he rides at other times. "Cars can see more bikes than when there is only one bike. It's easier to see a hundred bikes," he said.

Jeff Noll of Marion said not only is the cause a good one, the event also helps raise awareness of motorcycles on the road. His riding buddy, Danny Noll, heard about Coach Kill's cancer fund and thought this would be a fun way to help out.

"We have all been affected by cancer -- family or friend -- and you never know when you might be next," Noll said.

This is the first poker run that Gina Sherland, Kroger Zone Manager for Southern Illinois, has helped organize.

"Everybody working together, and what a good cause!" she said. "All the store managers and employees work together to raise money."

She added that Black Diamond Harley Davidson was wonderful to help them move the 2009 Dyna Super Glide Custom Harley-Davidson from store to store so shoppers could get a look at it. Tickets were sold for $10, with the drawing Saturday evening at the end of the run. Mark McDaniel won the bike.

Coach Kill was represented by his wife, Rebecca, and daughter, Krystal."The riders really came out and supported what we are trying to do for patients in Southern Ilinois," Rebecca Kill said. "We are really pleased with the turnout."

According to Rebecca Kill, the Coach Kill Cancer Fund helps patients with expenses not covered by insurance, such as transportation costs or medications. Working with SIH allows the group to refer patients to other sources of help when it is appropriate. "There are a lot of avenues out there, but people don't always know about them," Rebecca Kill said.

Gene Honn of SIH said this event alone helps between 60 and 70 cancer patients. The fund began three years ago, but spent a year building resources. In two years, Coach Kill Cancer Fund has helped a few more than 200 cancer patients.

Although a total was not available, organizers announced that the proceeds from this year's fundraising had exceeded last year's total.

For more information, visit

This was a great ride yesterday that covered over 200 miles. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. Being a cancer survivor, I'm very passionate about supporting events like this one. It is also an opportunity to witness for Jesus. What are you passionate about today, This Day? Use it as an opportunity to tell others about how Jesus has blessed you.

Peace and Joy,

Ephesians 2:29 (NIV) Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household


gigi said...

Wonderful cause and post. Thank you. Many blessings.

Kim said...

I love hearing about how a community comes together like this! Thanks for sharing :-)

Gotta Have Faith said...

Looks like everyone had a blast and it was for a great cause! It is funny when you think about most bikers in general. At first they seem hard and intimidating, but then when you get to know them they are all just a bunch of softy's.

I have a few bikers that I have known over the years and they have all been very nice and would bend over backwards for any of their friends!

Great Post!

Heart2Heart said...


This is truly a cause to be spotlighted. Like Steve said in Gotta Have Faith, most people stereotype bikers based on their own personal prejudices but in turn most of them are people just like all of us.

Here is hoping that God just pours forth a huge blessing and not only doubles their contributions from last year but exceeds anyones' expectations.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

KrippledWarrior said...

Je vous salue ma sœur.
Soyez bénis et être une bénédiction.

LDH said...

Hello, just stopping by for the first time to say hello. Sweet place you have here.

Riding a motorcycle seems like such a thrill! We have a group of riders from our church called Riders of the Lamb. They have a great time together.

Kindly, ldh