The words printed on the back of T-shirts sold by friends of recently deceased Dave Sebring said it all: Supporting the fighters, admiring the survivors, honoring the taken, and never, ever giving up hope.
Friends, relatives, and others from the area gathered Saturday afternoon at the Goessel Elementary School to pass out T-shirts that also had a purple bow and the words “In memory of Dave Sebring” on the front. They mounted motorcycles and cars to visit to the Goessel Cemetery where a new headstone stood over Sebring’s resting place, and then they rode to several stopping points in the surrounding area where Sebring used to enjoy meeting with friends. Approximately seven motorcycles joined the cavalcade.
Sebring, a much-loved husband, father, and friend of many in the Goessel area, died unexpectedly three months ago after a brief battle with cancer.
“We had only 52 days from the time we found out he had cancer to the day he died,” Sebring’s wife, Rachel, said. “He was determined to the end to try and beat this, but it didn’t work out that way.”
Sebring suffered from macular degeneration and several other health problems, but cancer was not discovered until he went in for a belly-button hernia removal.
“There was a small scab there that hadn’t healed and they tested it,” Rachel Sebring said. “It came back with malignant cancer cells, and he was gone 52 days later.”
Grief over a life lost too soon and awareness of mounting medical bills spurred friends and family members of the Sebring family into action.
“We wanted to do this while Dave was still alive,” said Lisa White, former classmate and family friend. “I’ve known this family since we were all in high school and just wanted to let Rachel know we support her and want to help through these tough times.”
White, Jim Reimer, Jodi Fensky, and others combined efforts to create, advertise, and sell T-shirts in memory of Dave’ battle. They gave all money raised from the T-shirt sales to Sebring’s family: Rachel, Tyler and Amy Huntley, and Sarah Sebring, who were present at the onset of Ride for a Reason.
“Dave was just loved by a lot of people,” another friend and motorcycle ride participant Karen Stairs of Hillsboro said. “We felt this was one way to let everyone know that we don’t forget our friends.”
Participants said they were not sure how many miles were planned for the Saturday ride, but they were there for the duration.
“I can go 180 miles and then I hope there is a gas station nearby if we need to go some more,” Kevin Klassen of Goessel said. “These are our friends; we’ll go as far as we need to go.”