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Cool Ryders
By Pam Davis - April 8, 2009

On a beautiful Saturday morning in La Jolla,California, rumbling is heard from blocks away.

A long line of motorcycles rolls down the hill slowly into view. As they enter the parking lot, the residents of the La Jolla Rehabilitation Center peer out of their windows.

One of the residents calls out of his window. "Where are you from?" His face is thin from illness, but the motorcycles clearly bring a smile to his face. The group answers back to him, "The Rock!"

The Rock Church motorcycle club, the "Rock Ryders" and the volunteers of the Cancer C.A.R.E. Ministry greet each other warmly. The Ryders travel on everything from the ultra classic Harleys to GSXRs. Their 'colors' contain a distinctive cross. They get together to share their love of bikes and Jesus Christ, often with non-believers.

Rock Cancer C.A.R.E. was started by Tamela Reed, a cancer survivor. While going through her illness she noticed many gaps in the care and services for cancer patients. She started Cancer C.A.R.E. to be a light to patients and their families. That's how she met John.

John has been struggling with cancer for several years. The 58-year-old former truck driver was diagnosed with kidney cancer about six years ago. He had his kidney removed and was in remission for almost five years. A little more than a year ago, the cancer returned. The cancer has since spread to his brain and lungs and he is currently undergoing radiation treatment. While the radiation was successful in killing the brain tumor, the swelling and edema has caused paralysis in his right side and has greatly affected his speech./p>

He found support through the Cancer C.A.R.E. Ministry. Cancer C.A.R.E. volunteers visit him in the Rehabilitation Home , pray with him, and keep him company. It was during one of these visits that a volunteer noticed his room was drab. From there, the idea to decorate and make it more cheerful was born. John loves all things motorcycles but his brain tumor has been keeping him off the road. So the Rock Ryders, planned a big surprise. They brought John outside of his room to enjoy the company of bikers and their "hogs".

John was tired but he couldn't help but smile. Rock Ryders and Cancer C.A.R.E. volunteers surrounded John and prayed.

Cancer Care volunteers rolled John's wheelchair down the ramp and around the building to the parking lot. Once in view of the Ryders, motorcycle engines were revved in his honor. John was tired but he couldn't help but smile. Rock Ryders and Cancer C.A.R.E. volunteers surrounded John and prayed. A Harley Davidson scarf was tied over his plain white t-shirt. John was presented with a large framed photograph of a Harley, a small motorcycle license plate frame and a large homemade card signed with inspirational and caring notes.

Because of his treatment, it was hard for John to talk but he managed to articulate his gratitude. With tears in her eyes, his daughter was at once overwhelmed and comforted by the support. Pictures were taken and more prayers and hugs were exchanged. After a few moments, John became exhausted. He was wheeled back to his room to rest.

The motorcyclists walked their bikes out of the lot so as not to disturb the other patients.

Back in his room, John drifts off to sleep, comforted by the support and love that God sent him through men and women donning leather chaps.

***John lost his battle with cancer on Sunday April 26th. Please keep his family in your prayers.