Motorcycle ride raises money for Kingston firefighter with cancer
Walters lost his first wife and son to kidney disease.
“This hits home for me. Anytime I can get involved in something like this I do,” said Walters, who joined more than 100 motorcyclists in a poker run from the Kingston Fire Department to Manchester Harley-Davidson to raise money to support Kingston fire Lt. Scott McLellan, 46, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer last October and remains out of work.
The run was organized by the New Hampshire Red Knights Chapter 5. Proceeds will benefit McLellan and kidney cancer research at the Mayo Clinic.
Firefighters from across the state joined the ride, along with other members of the club and the public. State police and Salem police escorted the long line of motorcyclists, who began the ride under a large American flag atop a ladder on a Plaistow fire truck.
“It's all about camaraderie,” said Kingston Fire Department Capt. Doug Butland, one of the chief organizers.
The Kingston Volunteer Fire Association has raised nearly $20,000 to help McLellan in his cancer fight because he's still unable to work and receives no financial assistance through short-term or long-term disability.
The town didn't offer disability insurance for employees at the time of McLellan's diagnosis, but a warrant article inspired by McLellan's struggles and those faced by two other employees in the past was passed in March that will provide short-term and long-term disability beginning July 1. However, McLellan won't be able to benefit because of his pre-existing condition, fire officials said.
While many of the riders from other departments don't know McLellan personally, it didn't matter, they said.
“It's something everybody does,” said Auburn firefighter and emergency medical technician Rob Alibert.
McLellan spent the past week in the hospital, but was released Thursday and attended Saturday's ride.
He thanked the many who have helped him during his fight.
“It's a big family. Ninety percent of them I don't even know,” he said.
McLellan said the financial help has allowed him to pay his bills and keep his house.
He's not sure when he'll be able to return to work.
“It's a long fight. You get good reports and you get bad reports. You have to keep on fighting,” he said.
McLellan's illness has affected many of the firefighters who work with him.
“You read about it and then it happens to someone you know,” said Kingston firefighter Bill Timmons, who volunteered to help cook hot dogs and hamburgers for the participants along with Kingston Fire Department Lt. Bill Pellerin and firefighter Bob Esty.
“This could happen to any one of us,” Pellerin said. “It's nice to be surrounded by friends.”
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