LITCHFIELD — Bikers and nonbikers are gathering todayfor a ride and a pig roast to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and an Augusta couple whose two children who have been diagnosed with the disease.

Cystic fibrosis “is an inherited disease of the secretory glands,” which make mucus and sweat, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

The motorcycle ride begins at 11 a.m. today at LA Harley in Lewiston and ends at the home of Ron and Lisa Ridley, 134 Center Road, which is off Route 197 near Gowell’s store. Ridley said this the first time he has hosted an event of this nature, although he and his wife participate in a number of benefit rides.

They are members of United Bikers of Maine as well as the Fire & Iron motorcycle club, which is made up of firefighters.

He said he expects 100 to 150 people to turn up, and he arranged to have a beer permit from the town. The barbecue begins at 12:30 p.m., and the event is scheduled to conclude at 8 p.m.

All the events are open to the public and admission is by donation.

Ron Ridley, who is Litchfield’s public works foreman, said all the items for the pig roast, including some tents for shade, have been donated.

The proceeds will help benefit Carter, 4, and Emma, 21 months, and their parents, Lynn and Josh Blanche. The Ridleys are close friends of Lynn Blanche’s mother, Brenda Bilodeau, of Leeds.

The family intends to be at the barbecue, said Lynn Blanche, 30. Both she and Josh Blanche, 33, work in Augusta, and have insurance to cover most expenses. The donations will be welcome, she said, to help cover prescription and co-pay costs as well as travel expenses. Both children are treated in Portland.

“I just think it’s great that we have this much support from our family and friends,” Lynn Blanche said.

She said Emma is recovering nicely from the insertion of a feeding tube, which is aimed at helping her gain weight and increase lung function as well as reduce her susceptibility to infection. “She’s very happy and very feisty,” Blanche said.

Emma was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was 8 days old.

Carter was diagnosed at 13 months. Newborn screening for cystic fibrosis wasn’t done until six months after he was born, she said.

“He had been battling a cough for a few months, and it took a while to get him diagnosed,” Blanche said. In contrast to his sister, he’s been high on the growth charts, she said.

“He’s a little sponge,” she said. “He retains every piece of information about the disease; he’s going to be a key teacher for Emma.”

The family has done the annual cystic fibrosis walk for the past four years. In May, Carter and Emma were pictured on the poster for the Northern New England chapter of the CF Walk.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]


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