WEIRTON - As he fights to recover from major injuries sustained in a motocross competition, a local teen will serve as inspiration to area motorcyclists and others to help the Brooke-Hancock Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The nonprofit group will hold its annual poker run Saturday and has named Josh Boyd of New Cumberland as its ambassador.
The son of Tim and Grace Boyd, Josh suffered a broken neck and vertebrae and several other injuries while racing in a regional Motocross competition in Maryland.
Kendel Rutherford, a wish granter for Make-A-Wish, said many of Boyd's family and friends are involved in the poker run, which will start at 11 a.m. at Green Acres on Harmon Creek Road in Colliers and continue through a tri-county course that includes stops at Kelly's Old Skool on Ohio Route 213 in Toronto, the Chester Veterans of Foreign Wars Post on Carolina Avenue and Bullpen Sports Bar on County Park Road in Avella, Pa.
The run will end back at Green Acres, where nonriders are invited to join riders for a chicken dinner and various other activities, including cornhole and horseshoe tournaments, a Chinese auction and live auction conducted by Bennie Parr.
Items donated by Niedengard's Harley-Davidson of Wintersville and many other businesses will be on the auction block.
There also will be music by area bands Iron Skillet and Broken Arrow and disc jockey Poor Boy Productions, a Best Bike Contest and a 50-50 drawing.
The cost is $25 for each rider, $15 for each passenger and $10 for those coming for the dinner only. Checks should be made to Wheels for Wishes. Registration for riders will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Rutherford said proceeds will help the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant the wishes of area youth with life-threatening medical conditions. She said the group hasn't helped Boyd yet but will be reaching out to him.
She said while the charity doesn't pay medical bills, it can provide such needs as handicap-accessible ramps and wheelchairs.
Linda Carroll, Boyd's aunt, said her nephew is paralyzed from the neck down and undergoing treatment at a spinal rehabilitation center in Georgia.
"He has determination. He says he will walk again," she said, though his physicians' have set smaller goals for him at this time.
Asked about his spirits, Carroll said, "He has his good days and bad days."
She said Boyd was transported by medical helicopter to a Baltimore hospital following the accident on June 29 that left him with many broken bones.
The Maryland race was among many in which Boyd had competed, beginning when he was 4, and he had achieved semiprofessional status, Carroll said.
He completed his junior year at Weir High School in June
She said Boyd's father continues to work at a factory in Pittsburgh to support the family while his mother, Grace, has taken time off as co-owner and hairstylist for Styles Unlimited in Weirton to aid Josh with his recovery.
Carroll said many have stepped forward to help the family, with spaghetti dinners planned by civic groups and an event featuring various vendors planned for Aug. 24 at the Fort Steuben Mall.
Bracelets and T-shirts bearing Boyd's name and racing number are being sold through the Josh Boyd Foundation, which has established an account at Huntington National Bank. For information, call (304) 479-7223.