Quincy News

Riding for a Reason helps battle colon cancer

Nearly 300 riders covered more than 240 acres Saturday Ruffcorn ORV Park near Loraine in the Riding for a Reason fundraiser. Riding for a Reason was founded for the sole purpose to raise awareness of colon cancer and prevention. | H-W Photo/Michael Kipley
Michael Kipley 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 17, 2017 5:05 pm

LORAINE, Ill. -- J.T. Gunter's business card carries an unmistakable message: "Cancer Sucks."

When Gunter lost a close friend and his father-in-law to colon cancer, he decided to both try and create more awareness about the disease and raise funding to assist those individuals and families battling colon and other forms of cancer.

That's how Riding for a Reason -- R4R -- was born in 2015, a movement that regularly brings together individuals and groups with a penchant for off-road racing and riding who also want to help Gunter help others.

About 300 individuals, mostly from outside the area, gathered Saturday at Ruffcorn ORV Park, a 220-acre off-road oasis in rural Adams County, southeast of Loraine.

"There aren't as many charities for colon cancer as there are some of the other cancers," said Gunter, who lives in Granite City. "We started this in the spring of 2015, and it continues to grow."

R4R has one main event each spring in Steelville, Mo., and several others -- like Saturday's at Ruffcorn ORV Park -- during the course of a calendar year.

"In the last three years, we have raised between $50,000 and $60,000 dollars," Gunter said. "This year, we've already raised more than $20,000."

The first R4R event in Steelville drew 230 bikes, buggies and various ATVs. In 2016, that number was 652 and earlier this year 1,049 showed up.

Not counting skin cancers, colon-related cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States, causing about 50,000 deaths a year.

Travis Dalton of Park Hills, Mo., and David Pinkston of Bon Terre, Mo., are regular participants in R4R activities.

"This has become a family," Pinkston said. "We decided to do what we love, and do it for a reason -- Riding for a Reason."

Dalton agrees.

"This is a good cause," he said. "We're helping J.T. make his dream a reality."

The R4R group also awards funding to a local group or organization wherever it holds an event. On Saturday, R4R presented a check for $500 to the Mendon Fire Department.

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