Organizers Select Family For Bike Race Fundraiser - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Organizers Select Family For Bike Race Fundraiser

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Now that spring is here, the Great American Bike Race isn't far off. It will take place at Century High School on Saturday, April 26. Each year, organizers select two stars, who serve as the inspiration behind the big fundraiser for families of children with cerebral palsy and other related conditions. Let's meet one of them.

Meet the Eckholm family. They live on a farm near Wing and have been on this land for generations. There's Ethan, Shelly, Erika, Annika and Daryl. Ethan was diagnosed with leukemia when he was three. When he was five, a chemotherapy drug paralyzed him. Although he regained his upper body strength and is now cancer-free, he hasn't been able to walk since.

"Well, I go fishing occassionally, and I read, and I've got a dog, so I always go outside with the dog," says Ethan.
The Eckholms haven't participated in the Great American Bike Race before, but they've certainly benefited. They've received money for the ramp leading up to their door. Carpeting has been replaced by laminate flooring to make it easier for Ethan to move around. And he also has an Easy Stand Glider, which looks a lot like an ellyptical machine. It allows him to stand and stretch his muscles. Ethan also loves to read mysteries and write his own, although he's reluctant to say much about the plot.

"Someone died, and they have to get the killer," says Ethan.

Two-years-ago, his father was stricken with West Nile Virus and spent a month and a half in the ICU before doctors discovered what was wrong. He still hasn't fully recovered, and he can clearly identify with his son.

"But being in a wheelchair has given me a whole new sense of respect for Ethan or anybody else in one. I know it's a whole lot harder to get around than it looks like," says Ethan's father Daryl.
The family has leased out the farmland, at least temporarily. And even though Ethan is pretty well independent, a lot of responsibility falls on his mother to hold down the fort.

"And we'll get through this, and there's so many people that are in worse predicaments. And this isn't our first challenge, I mean, it'll be more," says Ethan's mother Shelly. "There'll be more ahead. And I'm hoping that if I were in this situation, everybody else would help me, especially him. Yes, he would."

And of course, she doesn't hesitate to thank family, friends and the people behind the Great American Bike Race.

Ethan will have a team there, along with more than a hundred other teams, with more than a thousand riders. It runs from 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on April 26.


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