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Tradeshow companies team up to bicycle for cancer awareness

Club 815This September, employees from Classic Exhibits, Optima Graphics, Creative Dimensions and Greg Garrett Designs will go the distance for one of their own—literally.


Dave Brown, Kevin Carty, Mel White, Tony Ricci, Betsy Ricci, Greg Garrett, Charlie Shivel, Joel Roy and others are going to bike 100 miles (The Century Ride) in Oregon’s Eschelon Gran Fondo of Hood River to support one of their own: Mike Swartout from Classic Exhibits, who has terminal cancer.

“Mike has been there to help Optima and its customers many times over the years so when his boss, Kevin Carty, suggested we do this ride to help raise money for Mike’s family, we immediately said yes,” said Dave Brown, VP of sales at Optima.

“Mike’s selflessness and attitude are unprecedented,” said Kevin Carty, VP of Classic Exhibits Inc., who is approaching his 12-year cancer-free anniversary. “I unfortunately have known too many people who have been affected by cancer, but none quite like Mike. He stands out for many reasons, but for me, the most amazing reason is his decision to become a research patient almost immediately.”

Mike decided soon after his diagnosis of Advanced Stage 4 Prostate cancer that he was not going to sit back and just take it. Since his diagnosis, he has opted to undergo countless experimental treatments, which are solely intended to benefit future people diagnosed with this disease.

“Mike is living on borrowed time and still comes to work every day—he is an amazing human,” said Brown.

Classic Exhibits, Optima Graphics, Creative Dimensions and Greg Garrett Designs are trusted suppliers and/or customers of each others’ companies, leading to the symbiotic relationship and friendship.

“Optima, Classic Exhibits, Creative Dimensions and Greg Garrett Designs certainly have a great working partnership, but within our companies, the relationships run much deeper than that,” said Carty. “Mine, Dave, Joel’s friendship, as well as others between our staffs, have been forged by shared core corporate and personal values.”

However, one of greatest elements has been the support and backing the team has been given by The EDPA Foundation.

“Dave Walens and Jeff Provost stepped in right away and allowed us to raise money through the foundation for Mike,” said Carty. “Thus allowing any and all donations to be fully tax deductible for individuals and businesses.”

Donations from the team’s page will go to Mike’s family to help alleviate the severe financial hardship they are experiencing. In particular, Mike does not have life insurance, which is a potential future threat for his wife Janet.

“This is an altruistic, fun, challenging, and customer engaging experience that at the end of the day, raises funds for one amazing man and his family,” said Brown.

The team, “Club 815, Powered by The EDPA Foundation,” will ride on September 22, 2012.

“We would greatly appreciate any tax deductible donation that will help our friend,” said Carty. “Thanks in advance for your support.”

Donate to Club 815 here.


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