CARTHAGE Carthage Central School lacrosse coach Kirk A. Ventiquattro may not be a biker, but that did not stop the local motorcycle community from holding a 100-mile ride in his honor Saturday.
Mr. Ventiquattro, 53, was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer last July. He underwent a radical prostatectomy last August, and Jan. 3 began radiation treatment.
Since his diagnosis, the coach has taken every opportunity to spread the word about prostate cancer.
A lot of men feel indestructible and forget about their mortality, Mr. Ventiquattro said.
Following the motorcycle ride, which started and ended at Caskinettes Throttle Shop, 36788 Route 26, the much-supported coach gave a speech on how the illness has affected his life and what men should do to prevent it.
At age 40, demand from your physician advocate to take a PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen test), he said. Screenings should start in the 50s.
Mr. Ventiquattro said he was not screened for prostate cancer until he was 52, and by that point the disease had spread outside of his prostate.
With stage four cancer, he has a 31 percent five-year survival rate, something he said could have been 100 percent if he had been screened earlier.
During his speech, Mr. Ventiquattro said he may have to wait another year before finding out if all of the cancer has been eliminated.
Its great that he let us put the ride on for him, said organizer Christopher M. Medsger. We had a couple people jump on at the middle of the ride. They even paid registration at the end.
Mr. Medsger is a member of the Punishers Motorcycle Club. He said the idea to host a benefit ride for Mr. Ventiquattro originated with fellow Punisher Jose M. Vega Jr.
As an E-5 sergeant with the 10th Mountain division, Mr. Vega is scheduled for a permanent change of station to Fort Knox next week.
He said he wanted to do something for the coach before then.
It was Mr. Medsger who pitched the idea of hosting the benefit at Caskinettes.
Every Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. throughout the summer, Caskinettes hosts a benefit barbecue to raise money for a member of the community in need of support. Recipients are selected on a month-to-month basis.
Amber L. Wilsie, Caskinettes floor manager, said that Mr. Medsger offered up the idea to host a benefit ride for Mr. Ventiquattro when the shop was trying to decide for whom it would raise money during its July barbecues.
We had two other barbecues this month ... we raised $200 to $250, Ms. Wilsie said.
She said Texas Roadhouse, which provided food for the open house, donated 100 percent of its profit from the open house to Mr. Ventiquattro.
With the combined efforts of Texas Roadhouse, Caskinettes Throttle Shop and the Punishers Motorcycle Club, an estimated $1,400 was raised for the coach, Ms. Wilsie said.
Next months barbecue benefits will be held for Jesse P. Spellicy. Mr. Spellicy works as a technician for Caskinettes and recently suffered a motorcycle accident.
Besides the Punishers, motorcycle clubs that took part in the ride were the Combat Vets, Tranquil Thunder, the Carthadians, Legion Riders and the Iron Order.
Mr. Medsger said Saturdays turnout of 57 registered riders was phenomenal. We had been hoping for 30, and we got more than that, he said.
Mr. Ventiquattro said he is willing to speak to area organizations about prostate cancer and prevention free of charge.
To learn more about Mr. Ventiquattros experience, visit www.thegameofcrosses.org. To schedule a discussion about prostate cancer, call 783-6589.