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Car and bike show to benefit Grovetown boy

Posted: June 12, 2013 - 12:00am

An upcoming car and motorcycle show is in honor of a Grovetown boy battling cancer.

“Cruizin’ for Carlos” will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at Liberty Park. It benefits Carlos G. Garth Jr., a 9-year-old Cedar Ridge Elementary School honor student battling leukemia.

Carlos, the son of Carlos G. Garth Sr. and Shanda Garth, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia April 5. He has received two chemotherapy treatments and has one more round to complete, coupled with a rest cycle scheduled to take approximately three months. His family is hoping Carlos will be healed in time to begin fourth grade in the fall.

“Carlos was a third-grade student at Cedar Ridge Elementary in Mrs. Watson and Miss Clancy’s class, and my son is his classmate,” said Gene Benson, one of the benefit organizers. “Mrs. Watson put it out to her class that one of their classmates had been diagnosed with cancer, and when my son came home and told my wife and me, it hit close to home for us because Carlos was the same age as our son.”

Benson and his wife, Dawn, decided to take their son to visit Carlos at the hospital.

“He has a smile that is contagious,” Benson said. “He knew that he was sick but he said that he was going to fight the cancer and that he was going to live to be 1,000. He is such an inspiration.”

After seeing Carlos, Benson and his wife contacted Watson and several other community members. They met at Learning Laughter and Love Enrichment Center and began bouncing around ideas on how to help Carlos and his family.

The group began raising money by selling 500 silicone bracelets with the words “Team Carlos!” stamped across them. Kayce Masaniai, a mother of another one of Carlos’ classmates, thought T-shirts might be a good idea. She went back to Children’s Hospital of Georgia, where Carlos designed his “I Love Nachos! ‘Team Carlos’ ” T-shirts. The shirts will be available at the car and motorcycle show.

“The intent behind the fundraiser was to raise money to offset the costs of having a child in the hospital, or maybe after four months of being in the hospital the family can take a well-deserved vacation or create a college fund for Carlos,” said Benson.

Cruizin’ for Carlos opens with registration at 9 a.m. on June 15. There is a $15 registration fee per participant and a $10 cost per bike for the ride, and $5 for each additional rider. The event will begin with a morning ride through Grovetown and Harlem and back into Liberty Park and include music, a silent auction, craft and food vendors, inflatables and face painting, plus a bake sale by the teachers and families of Cedar Ridge Elementary.

Event coordinators are seeking additional sponsors, food vendors and live music performers.

In addition to the benefit ride, Major Moves Marketing & Events has organized the Music and Menus Festival featuring a 150-foot mural where anyone can “Color for Carlos.” Families can come and paint as much as they want at no charge, though donations are preferred. The festival will be held at Lady Antebellum Pavilion on Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15, and all proceeds will go towards the Carlos Garth Jr. Benefit Fund.

“We wanted it to be so that he knew that we were supportive of him,” said Benson. “I think it gives a sense of community and involvement and shows that we care. This was a group effort and everyone in the community plugged in at the same time.”

Go to www.facebook.com/CruizinForCarlos.

To follow Carlos’ progress, go to www.carepages.com/carepages/CGGJr.

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