Benefit brings in $2K for local youngster


About a week ago, local motorcycle clubs and the community came together to help a 9-year-old Anna Fleming and her family by showing their support and raising $2,000.

Held on May 14, the Punishers LEMC Highland Chapter was joined by members of three other motorcycle clubs and despite the rain and cold, more than 100 people showed up for a benefit for Fleming.

Fleming was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia in January and treatment has kept her from school. Fleming’s mother previously said that her daughter is soon to begin another round of treatment that will take them to the hospital twice weekly. And this treatment will keep the child more sequestered than previous treatments as it will suppress her immune system even more.

The illness has taken its toll financially, too, and the Punishers decided to step up and help out.

Prior to last weekend’s ride that included about 30 bikes, member Gary Hughes said the club presented Fleming with her own club vest, making her an honorary “sister” to the club. On the front of the vest is a patch bearing the name “Zipper.” It is Fleming’s road name, and one she chose for herself, Hughes said.

Fleming and her mother and aunt also joined in on the ride, Hughes said, and the motorcycle procession had a Hillsboro Police Department escort through the city.

The little girl also received a special gift consisting of things like a large pink camo pig made just for her by Hughes’ mother, a pillow for the hospital, and nail polish. Other donations included household items for the family.

Hughes said that Fleming “had smiles” all day.

In a video shared by a member of the club, the money is presented to the family, all of whom appear visibly overcome. In the video, Hughes can be heard telling the family, “She is now a part of our family … She is protected by some very, very large guardian angels.”

Hughes said that for the small community of Highland County and the surrounding area, raising $2,000 was a big deal. He said most of the club’s benefits bring in a few hundred dollars, but club members are grateful for the support.

The Punishers LEMC Highland Chapter is made up of law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, and prior and active military members. To keep informed about the club’s activities or for more information, visit its Facebook page.

Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.

Anna Fleming is all smiles as she tries on her club vest last week with the help of Punishers LEMC Highland Chapter President Rick Neely. Fleming is all smiles as she tries on her club vest last week with the help of Punishers LEMC Highland Chapter President Rick Neely.
Motorcycle club, community come together to support 9-year-old

By Angela Shepherd

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