Motorcycle Ride to Benefit Local Cancer Support Group
Reprinted from Citizen.com
July 6, 2016 by BOB MARTIN
CENTER HARBOR, NH -- Tracy and his wife Liz Aquilla had a love for riding their motorcycles. While Liz passed away last year after battling breast cancer, Tracy has organized a ride in her honor to not only keep her spirit alive, but also help Liz's favorite non-profit called Keeping You, Me, and Memories Alive.
The ride is called Ice Muffin's Summer Run, and it is a memorial motorcycle ride through the White Mountains to benefit cancer patients. Tracy Aquilla explained that the scenic ride draws inspiration from the Sioux warrior rally cry called "hoka hey," which his wife embraced as she fought cancer.
"Liz embodied the spirit of 'hoka hey,' and she, in turn, inspired all who knew her to live each and every day to its fullest. That spirit infuses this ride, which strives to rally us to stand together to support those fighting cancer," said Aquilla.
Aquilla explained that he met Liz in California in 1990. At the time, he was planning a cross-country motorcycle trip to go to as many brew pubs and microbreweries as he could. This was a time when microbreweries were just starting to take off.
He said in the summer of 1993, they got married, and went to Bermuda for a honeymoon for a week, but then continued the honeymoon by riding motorcycles and traveling 7,000 miles through 20 states, going to 30 brew pubs in one month.
Aquilla said he had to sell one of his motorcycles when he started to have children. However, he always kept his first motorcycle. Instead of giving her an engagement ring, he told Liz he would sell his antique motorcycle to buy her a ring. However, she kept the motorcycle, a 1966 BSA Viking, which Aquilla has to this day.
Aquilla said later his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she spent five years battling the disease. He said it was devastating, which included a botched reconstructive surgery and pain. He asked Liz what she wanted to do for her bucket list, and she said she wanted to take their daughter to California. Liz then asked Tracy what he would like to do, and he said he wanted one last motorcycle ride together.
"That's what we did," said Aquilla. "Last July, we had about a dozen friends show up and go up Route 3 towards the Kancamagus and down Route 25 again. That was our last ride together."
Liz Aquilla passed away in October 2015 at the age of 49 during the Sandwich Fair, which her husband said was one of her favorite events.
Aquilla decided to recreate this motorcycle trip, and hopes it can be an annual event. He said there is no goal for any amount of money to raise, but hopes people will donate to a support group that was near and dear to his wife, Liz.
The ride will take place on July 16 beginning at noon at Laconia Harley-Davidson in Meredith. Riders will travel a route through the White Mountains and end up at Moose Pond Farm in Center Harbor for a barbecue.
Keeping You, Me and Memories Alive is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization devoted to providing aid and support to adults in central New Hampshire who are battling cancer. It is located in Plymouth and was formed in 1999.
Riders are encouraged to visit MemoriesAlive.org and click the "Donate Now" button.