Tomorrow's Hope 'rides' despite the rain

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JEFFERSON — Tomorrow’s Hope’s Hope Fest 2017 might be concluded, but the memories remain of special moments with caring people who shared the priceless gift of time.

One of the events put on by Tomorrow’s Hope in conjunction with Hope Fest is Ride With a Buddy.

Randy Frohmader and Rory “Punch” Bloomer are two of the volunteers who went out of their way to make a dream come true for survivor Carter Pagenkopf, age 15, and his brother, Caden, age 10, during Ride With a Buddy. Due to rain, however, the Ride With a Buddy event had to be canceled, but Frohmader and Bloomer saw the disappointment on Carter Pagenkopf’s face and decided to schedule another time to take him and his brother on a special ride. Carter rode with Frohmader in his 2001 Chevy Corvette convertible and Caden rode with Bloomer on his 2015 Ultra Classic Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

“This year I met Carter and his family on the Tuesday night prior to the Hope Fest ride. He explained to me how he had never ridden in a convertible before and would like to ride with me. So that was the plan. However on Friday, the weather did not cooperate and the ride was canceled. I met with Carter and his family at Hope Fest that night and I could see the disappointment on his face. I told him I would get in contact with him soon and would still take him on his ride. I did just that a week later,” Frohmader said.

Carter, who spent 43 days in the hospital after serious brain bleeds and surgery, and has spent hours in therapy, was the torch bearer for the Hope Fest 2017 event, which benefits Tomorrow’s Hope, a local organization that helps people from southeastern Wisconsin who have been touched by Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other life-limiting illnesses.

Barb Endl, executive director of Tomorrow’s Hope, said, “Our goal as an organization is to create moments and memories, not only for the ones touched by illness, but for the drivers as well. This is the type of story that fuels my soul. Volunteers make a difference in the lives of others by doing everyday things that some of us take for granted. An act of kindness like this is so emotionally powerful, it can change your life forever.”

Stephanie Pagenkopf, mother of Carter and Caden, concurred.

“The rides with Punch and Randy were better than anything we could have hoped for and I think the boys got spoiled,” she said. “I think their makeup ride was every bit as exciting, if not more so, than the original that was planned. For Caden it was a dream come true. Both Punch and Randy were so kind and put the boys immediately at ease. It was an opportunity for both boys to do something they had never done before — ride on a Harley and ride in a fancy convertible. It gave them some very special memories.”

Frohmader said, “This is the reason I enjoy being part of Hope Fest — seeing how much people who have gone through life-changing experiences really appreciate special things like this ride. Seeing the survivors talking to each other, telling their own story and knowing they are not alone on their journey, talking about riding on a motorcycle for the first time, or in a convertible or some other vehicle, hearing them share their stories while on the ride and after makes it all worth it.”

Carter’s brother, Caden, has been traveling this journey with Carter, and both siblings were chosen to ride.

Endl said, “The important thing for Tomorrow’s Hope is that Carter was touched by illness, but Caden is certainly impacted as a younger brother. We work hard to include all family members in our ride, so they also know they aren’t in this alone.”

Bloomer said, “I had a lot of fun going on the ride with Caden. It means a lot to see young people like Caden do things that he doesn’t normally get to do. It is very exciting to have the chance to make a difference in their lives and this also makes a difference to me. Tomorrow’s Hope allows me the chance to do this. Not everyone can be as lucky as I am, and this is my chance to share.”

Stephanie Pagenkopf said, “We are so appreciative that there are people out there that are so generous and kind to take time out of their lives to share of themselves with our family. I took a picture of the boys with the lit up word ‘hope’ the night of the event, it was a very moving moment. I have cried a lot over the last few months, mostly out of sadness and frustration, usually when I am not around my kids. That night I cried because we had made it there and I do feel like there is hope for a bright future.”

Frohmader added, “The fact that all the money raised at Hope Fest stays local is a big part of the reason why I stay involved. Once you give someone a ride, you will always have a special connection.”

Fort HealthCare, St. Vincent de Paul, Tyranena, and WFAW/KOOL FM/WSJY were five-star sponsors of Hope Fest 2017. This year’s Ride With a Buddy sponsors were: Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club Chapter 11, Jordan Vogel Memorial Foundation, Randy Schopen Foundation, and Modern Woodmen of America No. 5005-1.

Tomorrow’s Hope was established in 1998 when a group of area volunteers met to organize a fundraiser that would have a direct impact on the people of southeastern Wisconsin who are touched by Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other life-limiting illnesses. To strengthen their commitment to southeastern Wisconsin, Tomorrow’s Hope formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

Today, hundreds of volunteers and sponsors contribute to the success of Tomorrow’s Hope, which has granted more than $ 4.1 million to southeastern Wisconsin health care organizations in 20 years. Tomorrow’s hope is committed to:

— Supporting programs that have an impact on people in the communities that support it.

— Furthering scientific research that seeks a cure or effective treatment for life-limiting illness.

— Bolstering educational initiatives that will provide additional or new knowledge about preventative measures to combat diseases.

— To strengthening efforts to provide medical and emotional support for patients and their family.

For more information, visit www.tomorrowshope.org or Tomorrow’s Hope on Facebook.

The mission of Tomorrow’s Hope is to foster health-related research, education and support activities that have a direct impact in health care service in the area for those touched by Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other life-limiting illnesses.

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Craig Ballantyne

I love anything to do with Harley Davidson and have two beautiful children and a beautiful partner. In my spare time i like building websites and love anything to do with the internet.

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