Babes Out On BikeS supports women who are going through breast cancer. Some of their members include front row, from left – Sherri Gordon, Suzette Briner and Regina Harting; back row – Connie Kreischer, Myra Wolfrum and Cathy Graf. 
Babes Out On BikeS supports women who are going through breast cancer. Some of their members include front row, from left – Sherri Gordon, Suzette Briner and Regina Harting; back row – Connie Kreischer, Myra Wolfrum and Cathy Graf. 

By ANDREA L. AGLER

Correspondent

     Faith. Love. Courage. Fight. Hope. Strength. These are some of the inspirational words listed on the banner of the Babes Out On BikeS brochure - a local group dedicated to helping those fighting breast cancer. One word however that comes to mind after spending some time with them is not on the banner. That word? Sisterhood.

     Babes Out On BikeS (BOOBS) began several years ago as a motorcycle group for local women riders. It was meant to be an opportunity for women to get together and ride as a hobby.

    That all changed in 2012 when one of the members’ nieces became ill with breast cancer. As a way to help her out, the group decided to put together some fundraisers. Because of that act of kindness, an idea was born.

    According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, with one in eight women being diagnosed with it in their lifetime. BOOBS saw a need and decided to fill it. They noticed that while women were fighting for their lives, they also had to worry about finances at the same time, sometimes losing their jobs, struggling to pay bills, buy food and other difficulties. They decided the donations would be monetary so that recipients could use the money however they saw fit, with no strings attached.

    In addition to the monetary gifts, recipients also have access to an outreach team. Members Regina Harding and Myra Wolfrum are part of that team. They coordinate the giftings, follow up with the recipients and act as a support system. According to Wolfrum, “Our outreach never stops. We are there as long as they need us.” For Regina, it is more personal, and a way to give back. She is a breast cancer survivor and was a recipient of the group before becoming a member. She is the only member with that distinction, and she understands on a different level than the others. “I think for them, just knowing someone else has been through this and understands what they are going through helps. We take the time. We are there for them.”

    The group sells merchandise to raise funds for their recipients. They have a wide variety of items, including shirts, hoodies, bracelets, headbands, hats, tumblers and more. They also are close to having their website and Facebook page set up to accept donations, as they recently received their non-profit status. They attend four main events throughout the year in which they set up and sell their merchandise. Those events are Wetzel Land, Hudson Leather, Blessing of the Bikes and an event of their own. Member Sherri Gordon states, “The biker community is one of the most charitable groups out there. They help us a lot.”

    There are some criteria recipients must meet in order to receive the monetary gift. The location requirement is within a 200 mile radius of US Highway 30 on the Indiana/Ohio state line. The other requirement is that the recipient must either currently be in treatment or have ended treatment within the last twelve months. Recipients who meet those requirements are gifted with $300, as well as a shirt, bracelet, an inspirational book and a bag. More than that, they receive a support system, a sisterhood, who will be there for them during their journey. Since starting in 2012, the group has gifted over 100 recipients. In addition, they organize a Secret Santa gifting each year at Christmas, in which they give books with $100 gift cards to two different local hospitals.

    The group members have been touched by those they have assisted. Connie Kreischer recalled a time the group rode in to a benefit to give the recipient her gift. “The look on her face was something I’ll never forget.” Members Cathy Graf and Suzette Briner agreed. Graf stated she has seen recipients out at other events wearing their shirts, which is a great feeling. Briner said every recipient is special and they all react in different ways.

    Gordon indicated it isn’t always easy. “We had a recipient pass away two years ago. Our group went to the funeral. The family was so thankful we came and expressed their gratitude for all our help.” Sherri also spoke of the time they had a fifteen year old recipient, their youngest ever. Even with the difficult stories, it is clear these women have a bond with each other and those they help, and have no plans to stop reaching out to assist those in need.

    The BOOBS group wants the public to know that anyone can get involved. They have a website, babesoutonbikes-boobs.net.

    Their Facebook page is Babes Out On BikeS. They can also be reached by e-mail: babesoutonbikes2016@gmail.com. Send a message, reach out and someone will be happy to assist.

    They speak of expanding someday, starting other chapters, giving more money, adding new members and generally just doing more. Until the disease is eradicated, there is always more to be done. These women, this sisterhood, will continue to fight for those who need it. As the slogan on their t-shirt says, “Friends don’t let friends fight cancer alone.”