FCRC #65 organizing fundraiser for Imlay girl battling brain tumor


TRI-CITY AREA — Often when people think of motorcycle clubs, they think of big, burly bearded guys and leather-clad gals looking to stir things up.

While that may pertain to some groups, one riding club turns that old stereotype upside down.

Sure, the Freedom Cruisers Riding Club Chapter #65 membership includes big, burly guys with beards and leather-clad women. But the only stirring up they’re interested in is stirring up compassion and care for the communities they live in and the families, friends and neighbors that need help.

Members of the Freedom Cruisers Riding Club Chapter #65 at Prop up Logan, a young autistic boy, a special event created just for him. And now they turn their attention to helping Karina and the battles she and her family face.

So when they learned about the plight of Imlay City’s Karina Peterson—featured in the October 19, 2022 edition of Tri-City Times—they were eager to help.

Karina, 6, is battling Optic Pathway Glioma, a brain tumor that threatens to rob the youngster of her eyesight.

Karina’s mom and dad, Julie Watson and Greg Peterson, have been struggling to make ends meet while traveling to Detroit for treatments and doctors’ appointments, as well as mentally and emotionally as Karina fights for her life.

The FCRC #65 members hope to alleviate some of that stress by hosting a ‘Poker Run for Karina’s Eyesight’ this summer.

Slated for Saturday, August 19, the run includes a meetup and registration at Ray C’s in Lapeer, and ends with a buffet, silent auction and more at Stevo’s in Imlay City.

Club Vice President Bob Novak says they’re working hard to create a successful event for Karina and her family. There’s also a special connection to the group. The club’s secretary, Sandy Kaye Spalthoffs, is Karina’s aunt.

“Our chapter is all about family, and we consider ourselves a family club,” Novak says. “We always like to do something for the community, particularly for kids, and we’re hoping to start early with this fundraiser so it will continue to grow.”

Novak says Ray C’s and Stevo’s were eager to get on board, and they’ve received donations of gift cards and other commitments from local businesses including The Hitch-N-Post, Kookys N Cream and Woodchips in Lapeer. They’re hoping others will jump in with donations of goods and/or services for the silent auction. Cash donations are also welcome.

Novak says FCRC #65 members have big hearts, and enjoy pairing up their love for riding with empathy and compassion for their neighbors and friends.

“The brotherhood and sisterhood is alive and well,” Novak says. “We are always looking for some way to help.”

Last year, the club hosted a ride for an autistic Oxford boy who needed a confidence boost and a sense of belonging.

“He was being bullied at school and was having a hard time, and the Chapter got on board,” Novak says. “We had 15 bikes at the event and it helped let the kid know he had friends and was part of something. He loved it.”

Those interested in donating items, funds and/or time to help support Karina Peterson and her family are encouraged to call Novak at 320-491-9397.

Participants in the ‘Poker Run for Karina’s Eyesight’ do not have to be a member of FCRC. All riders and interested persons are welcome to mark their calendars and attend the August 19 event. Details and updates as the date draws near will appear in future editions of Tri-City Times.