Ohio community unites to support local teen with Stage 4 Melanoma

Ohio community unites to support local teen with Stage 4 Melanoma

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio — The Jefferson County community is showing that not all heroes wear capes as they pull together this Saturday to help Colton Burkey, a local teen who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma.

According to organizers, family and friends are organizing a ride and subsequent spaghetti benefit with other moneymaking activities to help defray medical expenses.

Colton, the son of Jay and Barb Burkey of Steubenville is a senior at Edison High School and only recently learned of his illness. Family friend Dominic Merritt said fundraising efforts quickly began after he first heard of Colton’s diagnosis.

 “I talked to Colton’s dad and he told me the story. I said, ‘Let’s do a benefit,’” Merritt recalled. “They didn’t expect this to happen the way it happened.”

Merrit says he and others have formed Colton’s Heroes to honor the teen’s love of superheroes and began planning the themed events for this weekend.

Organizers say it all begins with the “Smash Cancer Send Off” motorcycle ride at 9 a.m. at Edison High School, which is located at 9890 Ohio 152 in Richmond. It is by donation only, and the ride takes off at 9:30 a.m. sharp.

Members are encouraged to don their best superhero gear and bring air horns, signs, cowbells, and noisemakers to rally for the young man.

The bikes will be on the road until approximately 1 p.m., and the run ends at the next benefit, where parking will be available. Merritt said Colton may also make an appearance for the occasion.

“He’s into superheroes and his family’s into bikes,” he added, saying they inspired the activity that was planned by Angie Fox and Donna Simpson, who are also mothers of EHS students. “We grew up together and became a family, and that’s why we put it together.”

According to organizers, the spaghetti dinner and benefit will begin from noon to 6 p.m. at the Knoxville Volunteer Fire Department at 15447 State Route 152, Toronto.

This includes a meal for $10 per person, 50-50, raffles, a money wheel, a Chinese auction, and a cornhole tournament.

Organizers say about 30 gift cards and a number of baskets have also been donated for the event, while signups for the tournament are from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

The tournament begins at 2 p.m. at a cost of $40 per team, with a cash prize to be awarded to first- and second-place winners.

The event is B.Y.O.B., and Colton’s Heroes T-shirts, sweatshirts, and drink koozies will be available.

Organizers say donors may also contribute to the @ColtonsHeroes24 PayPal account in the care of Beth Zook to assist him and his family.

For more information about the benefit, contact Merritt at (740) 219-3100 or Hailey Cline at (740) 275-6921 or go to the Colton’s Heroes Benefit Facebook page.

Information about the ride is also available by contacting Angie Fox at (304) 218-3225, Sheila Holcomb at (740) 632-0905, or MaryBeth Zook at (740) 317-7193 or emailing [email protected].

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