Karina battling Optic Pathway Glioma


IMLAY CITY — The streets will rumble this Saturday, August 19, as members of the Freedom Cruisers Riding Club Chapter 65 roll into town for a good cause.

The motorcycle enthusiasts are hosting a ‘Poker Run for Karina’s Eyesight’ to help Weston Elementary School student Karina Peterson, who will enter first grade in a few weeks.

Karina, 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 Poker Run kicks off at 9:30 a.m. at Ray C’s Harley Davidson in Lapeer. The cost is just $10 per rider and $5 for a passenger.

Following a safety and route brief, the bikers will take off at 11 a.m.

The ride culminates at 4 p.m. at Stevo’s Bar & Grill at 4 p.m. A buffet dinner will be served at 5 p.m.; tickets available at the door. A silent auction and 50/50 raffle will take place as well. The band ‘Torch’ will entertain the crowd from 5-8 p.m.

FCRC Chapter 65 President Ken Burk says the club is eager to help Karina and her family, adding that giving back to the community is important to their group.

“We started out helping one young lad from Oxford who was being bullied in school,” Burk says. “Then we helped another one, and now Karina needs help and we want to offer it.”

They also sponsor a local family at Christmas time, and consider themselves a family-oriented club.

A number of local businesses have stepped up to support the fundraiser with donations for the event, Burk says, and they’re very grateful for the support.

“We’re working hard to pull this off and make it a success,” he says. “Any and all donations are welcome.”

Karina’s mom, Julie Watson, is also grateful for the support. The past year has been very challenging, Julie says, yet they remain hopeful for the best outcome.

Karina is undergoing chemotherapy treatments, and will do so for the next 18 months or so, she adds.

“Her condition has been stable, but unfortunately there has been no change,” Julie says. “The tumor hasn’t grown, but it hasn’t gotten any smaller either.”

Between jobs, family and Karina’s treatments, the family is struggling to make ends meet, so Saturday’s fundraiser offers a beacon of hope.

“I think it’s such a wonderful and generous thing that the community is coming together to help our family,” she says. “It’s been such a struggle for the past year and it’s nice to see everyone come together for a little girl.”

All are welcome to take part in the buffet dinner at Stevo’s at 4 p.m.

For more information or to make a donation call 320-491-9397 or 810-664-9222 and leave a message for Bob.