The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

In the Spotlight

May 23, 2008

Nicktown couple keeps annual Bike-A-Thon rolling

Donald and Lisa Gaston are just like many other people in the Nicktown area.

They work hard and enjoy helping other people.

This week, the Gastons put the finishing touches on Nicktown’s 20th annual Bike-A-Thon that raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The event, which was held May 3, is dear to them because it helps ill children and honors their daughter, Leah, who died in infancy.

Their final task this week was counting the remaining pledges that arrived, pushing the total raised to nearly $4,000.

The couple has spearheaded the Bike-A-Thon for 18 years.

With the support of many people and businesses in northern Cambria County, the event has raised more than $60,000 for St. Jude in those 18 years.

“I’m proud of how we have done in the Nicktown area with the Bike-A-Thon,” Donald Gaston said.

He said many people and businesses – not only from Nicktown, but from Northern Cambria Borough to Ebensburg – support the event by donating money to buy prizes for all the bicyclists.

The 49 bicyclists who participated, mainly children, worked hard, raising money from relatives, friends and neighbors.

The Nicktown Volunteer Fire Company donated the use of its hall as the base for the event, he said.

“That’s the way people are out this way,” 54-year-old Donald Gaston said. “I think the world of them. People are kindhearted and would do anything for you and to help children.”

Lisa Gaston said that without the many volunteers, they would not be able to hold the event. Those volunteers included their youngest son Nathan’s fraternity at St. Francis University, the fire company, and area businesses and individuals who made donations.

The Bike-A-Thon was divided into four age groups: Infants to 5 years of age; 6 to 9; 10 to 13; and 14 and older.

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