The annual Tour de La Porte bike, run, and walk event is planned for today and tomorrow at Soldiers Memorial Park in La Porte. This event is designed to raise money for local cancer patients.
There are millions of families around the world that have their own stories of how cancer has affected them, whether it be personally or by a loved one having the dreaded disease. One story in particular is that of the Sobecki family. Linda Sobecki found out that she had lung cancer three years ago. She worked at Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa for a significant amount of time, until she no longer could due to the worsening condition of her disease. Her husband Jeff was able to use the family’s health insurance to pay for the majority of the bills, but not long after Sobecki stopped working, Jeff lost his job at the regional steel mill as well.
Upon losing his job, he also lost the health insurance benefits. However, he was soon able to get a job at Four Winds Casino resort that also had insurance benefits. Unfortunately, medical bills and every day living experiences still continued to pile up. During her treatment at IU Health La Porte Hospital, she heard about Tour de La Porte and signed up for the non-competitive 5K walk and crossed the finish line in 100-degree weather. She was accompanied crossing the finish line by her family, hospital staff, and fellow cancer patients.
Unfortunately, just a few weeks shy of getting to do the walk again, Sobecki passed away on July 27, 2010. To this day, her family continues to participate in the events in her memory. Her sons Eric and Ryan are both grown now and stationed in the U.S. Air Force in South Dakota. Jeff will not be joined by his sons and grandchildren this year, as Eric and Ryan are serving their country. Fortunately, Eric’s in-laws have decided to walk with Jeff.
Jeff admits that he used to be incredibly skeptical about non-profit organizations. He always thought that the money didn’t actually go where the organizations claimed it did. He now, however, urges people to get involved and change as he did. All of the funds raised by Tour de La Porte benefit IU Health La Porte and Starke hospitals’ cancer patients that are in need of financial assistance and also allow community members to access free health screenings. Last year the event raised more than $55,000 to help families like the Sobeckis.