WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – Like countless others, motorcycle enthusiast Chris Bordes said he was amazed at the strength and grace exhibited by the world famous Dorian Murray.
About the time the Westerly 8-year-old was facing his final days, Bordes started planning a way to help what has become Dorian’s family’s cause to raise money for pediatric cancer.
The contrast between Dorian’s innocence and the image sometimes associated with big, tough bikers is not lost on Bordes.
“We all have soft sides,” he said. “It’s not all raising hell and having fun. We care about people. We have children and families. We’ve dealt with cancer too.”
Dorian was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric cancer when he was four, and he fought it until the end of last year. In January, after doctors determined the cancer had spread to Dorian’s spine, he and his parents decided to forgo any further treatment. It was at that point when Dorian set his mind on a lofty goal.
“Before I go to heaven,” he said. “I want to be famous.”
And he became just that, with the Twitter #DStrong sweeping the globe.
A slice of his fame included an interview that hit home with Bordes, who was especially touched by one particular proclamation from young Dorian.
“I think it was the part when he said he wanted to be famous so he could get the girls,” Bordes said, with a smile. “I have to say that was the best.”
With that, the Burrillville resident made a few calls and pulled together the organizational power of Jennifer Crane. A few hundred hours of work later and the first Dorian J. Murray Bike run was ready to roar out of Northern Rhode Island on July 23.
There was little doubt who energized this latest effort to raise money to fight pediatric cancer.
“We got an immediate outpouring of love and support,” Crane said. “It was, ‘you’re doing a bike run for Dorian? What do you need? What can we get for you?’ I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The world may have never seen anyone like Dorian, who went from a Westerly kid fighting for his life to a famous spark for cancer awareness, thanks to that unforgettable hashtag.
“You have to stay strong for D,” Dorian said back in January, raising his arms in a muscle pose. “Stay D-Strong.”
Crane, Bordes and their fellow bikers are now trying to do just that. The fact that Dorian’s father Chris will lead the way on his motorcycle gives their effort a special impact.
“That was huge,” Bordes said. “We can only imagine what he and Dorian’s mother went through. Hopefully, we can do something to help other families not have to go through the same thing.”
Crane believes Dorian’s poise and kindness can have a vital impact.
“There was a little boy who was so innocent and had so much love for everyone,” Crane said. “That’s what we need. We need someone as pure as Dorian to show us there’s love and kindness. There’s not so much hate.”
More than 200 riders have committed to the bike run and raffle that will start at Sticks Tavern in Chepachet, but organizers are hoping for even more riders. All the proceeds will go to the Dorian J. Murray Foundation to carry on the DStrong goal to help kids and their families fight cancer.Send your story ideas to Walt at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Twitter:@StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.