A benefit for two local families is returning to Fayette County this summer, according to officials. The second-annual Poker Run for Gary & Tristen will take place Saturday, July 9.
This event will be held at the American Legion Post 25 at 1240 US-22 in Washington Court House. Tristen Mider, a student at Washington High School, was diagnosed with Philadelphia Chromosome Leukemia. Miami Trace Elementary student Gary Lewis was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Gary and Tristen were both diagnosed with leukemia in January of 2021. This benefit is intended to help these two children and their families as they face the many hardships that come with a childhood cancer diagnosis.
According to officials, last year’s event was an overwhelming success for both families, and organizers are looking to make this year’s event even better.
“Revisiting Creedence,” a band whose front runners traveled and performed with original “Creedence Clearwater Revival” members, will be performing. T-shirts will be on sale throughout the day, and a raffle will take place to raise money for both families. Items to be raffled include a 2019 Harley Street Bob, a $5,000 travel voucher, and .22 Henry Rifle 2nd Amendment Addition. Tickets for the raffle are $20 each.
This year’s poker run will start and end at the American Legion Post 25. Registration and breakfast will take place from 9-11 a.m. The cost to participate will be $20 per bike with all proceeds going to the Lewis and Mider families. The ride will consist of three stops, with kickstands up at 11 a.m. and the last bike in at 4 p.m. The first stop on the route will be Hammer Time Pub in Mount Sterling. Dough Boyz Pizza & Pub in Commercial Point will be the second stop, with Smitty’s Tavern in New Holland being the final stop before riders head back to the American Legion Post 25.
The benefit concert will take place immediately following the Poker Run at the American Legion Post 25. Gates will open at 3 p.m. for those who are not participating in the poker run. Admission is $20 per person with all proceeds going directly to the Lewis and Mider families. For those who participate in the Poker Run, admission to the benefit concert is free.
A full slate of entertainment is scheduled to perform, beginning at 3 p.m. “Rock & Roll DJs” will kick off the entertainment, followed by “The SASS” at 5:30 p.m. “The Aaron Buckley Band” will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. while the headliner, “Revisiting Creedence,” is set to perform at 9:30 p.m.
There are several options for those who wish to eat during this event. Food trucks will be on-site, hamburgers and hot dogs will be sold by a local boy scout group, and the American Legion will have its full menu available during the event.
One of the individuals who makes this event a possibility, Chris Lachat, released a statement regarding this cause. “I was traveling with my good friends Amy & Derek Winters when I first learned of Gary’s diagnosis. A group of people were organizing a chicken and noodle benefit for the family and Amy asked if I wanted to help. An amazing team of people spent an entire week cracking eggs donated from local farmers, preparing homemade noodles, peeling hundreds of pounds of potatoes, and bagging and labeling nearly two thousand cookies donated by local bakeries and individuals. We ultimately served 1,071 chicken and noodle dinners on January 31, 2021, in the middle of a snowstorm. The outpouring of love and support was overwhelming as we watched this community rally together for a family whose child was recently diagnosed with cancer.”
Lachat continued, “It was shortly after this benefit that we learned of Tristen’s diagnosis — two local families facing the unimaginable — our work was just beginning. On August 14, 2021, we hosted the first annual poker run and benefit concert for Gary & Tristen, and it was a huge success! Many local businesses sponsored the event and covered all our expenses. We had nearly 150 bikes ride in the event, and once again, dozens of volunteers worked tirelessly to pull this off. Our mission since that first benefit in January of 2021 has always been to help ease the financial burden for these families as they wake up each morning and live the reality of a childhood cancer diagnosis. Please join us on July 9th and help us make this event the biggest and best yet!”
Sponsorship opportunities are available in four levels, starting with a $500 Silver Level sponsorship and going up to a $5,000 Diamond Level sponsorship. Checks may be made out to the Lewis & Mider Benefit Fund and mailed to 622 W. Market St, Washington Court House, OH 43160.
Those interested in participating may follow the Gary & Tristen Benefit Facebook group, as well as the “Poker Run and Benefit Concert for Gary & Tristen – 2nd Annual” Facebook event page for updates and details.