Lost Riders: ‘Dakota needs your help’: Fundraiser for child with cancer | Local News

CONWAY — Dakota Shuford is a 3-year-old little boy with stage 4 prostate cancer.

According to the Cleveland Clinic website, Rhabdomyosarcoma is a type of cancer affecting muscle tissue most commonly in children and adolescents. The disease starts in the mesenchymal cells, which are cells that turn into muscle. With rhabdomyosarcoma, the cells change and grow out of control, forming one or more tumors.

Dakota’s tumors are affecting his prostate, rectum and urinary tract. He is working his way through the 42 chemotherapy treatments and he may have to have surgery to get a colostomy bag.

Dakota is described as a “fighter” and his family as “struggling through the battle.”

“Busboy” Jessie Nelson, a member of the Lost Riders motorcycle club of Conway, said the members are going to send the family money, toys, love and prayer.

“That little boy — He ain’t going to be able to walk, ride a bicycle, he can’t going to school, he can’t even have company — that ain’t no life,” Nelson said.

While cooking on the grill one night, “Red,” club President Johnnie Davis said they heard about Dakota.

“It touched everybody,” he said.

Roger Byrum, “Trigger,” Lost Riders road captain said, “We have to help that child. The parents are young. When it comes to a kid, you have to do something — we try to help anybody.”

Right away, the club gave the family a check for $1,000, Davis said. They started raising more funds since the first of May, selling raffle tickets and ending with a motorcycle ride July 10. In addition to money, they are purchasing toys and clothing for Dakota and his baby sister, Bailey and some other items for the family.

The reason for the giving hits close to home for the guys in the club, as most of them have experienced some type of personal loss. But nobody would know, as being around them is anything but sad, where laughter and jokes abound.

Byrum and club member “Digger,” Adam Coren, have both lost a child.

“So we know how it is,” Byrum said. “It touched home when they told us about Dakota — so we jumped right on it. You never get over it; you learn to live with it.”

“Sunshine,” C.R. Pope, joined the club a year ago, finding out about them at a funeral, as the club members lead a lot of funerals.

“They were sitting their, lost,” Pope said. “After the funeral they said, ‘Come back to the club, let’s talk,’ — it went on from there. I like helping people, my wife passed of cancer.”

Davis said he has a daughter with cerebral palsy.

“My ninth heart attack was 11/2 years ago — six in one night in 2006 and two more in 2009,” he said. “We help each other.”

Lost Riders Vice President “Smokin Joe” Vaughn said his son had cancer when he was 3 years old.

“It was rough — now he is 29 and has two kids,” he said. “When I heard about a kid having cancer, I knew we had to help. I enjoy helping people — all they have to do is holler and we try to help them.”

Sometimes that help comes in the form of mobility. So far, they have donated 59 electric wheelchairs, Byrum said. The first was to a lady living in an assisted living home in Murfreesboro. She was homebound and could not get out, he said.

“I went back the next day and built a small ramp on her porch,” Byrum said. “She told her grandchildren, ‘You all don’t need to go get my mail anymore.’ ”

They also just helped a woman in Lasker with lung cancer.

Davis said they try to do everything they can.

“We have work schedules and everyone has their home lives, but we still try to involve everything we can do here, “ he said.

Since they have moved into their clubhouse about three years ago in Conway, Davis said they cleaned it and cut down all of the overgrowing weeds and grass. They have added about 250 pounds of grass seed, a trampoline and plan on getting a sandbox, a horseshoe set and other items for the children.

Byrum said the Lost Riders started out in a man’s back porch — the original six of them.

In addition to Byrum, the three remaining original members are Davis and William Askew, “Hotsy.”

Their first benefit was a fish fry for the Pine Forest Rest Home in Potecasi.

Davis said, “They love to see us come up.”

“And every time we do a cooking, we always carry them a plate,” Byrum said. “We call them ahead to make sure of the number of residents they have there, and at Christmas time we carry them gifts — I dress as Santa.”

Byrum said when they started the club, they made a point that they wanted to be different.

“We wanted to prove there are good people who like to ride motorcycles — we all love to ride,” he said.

“Dakota needs your help,” he said.

A Benefit Ride and Fundraiser for Dakota will take place July 10, with registration starting at 9 a.m. and kickstands up at 10. The cost is $20 for a single rider and $25 with a passenger. In addition, raffle tickets are available for $5 for a chance to win two Pit Boss pellet grills. Tickets are available at the Lost Riders Clubhouse, 169 Wade Lane in Conway. For more information, call Red at 252-578-1416 or Smokin Joe at 252-287-6589.

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