Michael Todd Kerr will always be remembered by family and friends as ''Big Mike.''
Fortunately for the rest of us, they've decided not just to remember him fondly, but also to activate that memory for a greater good.
They call it ''Big Mike's Annual Memorial Bike Run'' and it's happening free on July 31 at Greensburg Park, 4899 Massillon Road, Green.
First a little bit about 6-foot-8 Big Mike, whose life was cut short by a motorcycle accident on July 27, 2008, less than a mile from Legends of Green, where he worked. He was 26.
''He chose to be an organ
donor and continue to help people even in his death,'' his father, Joseph Kerr, proudly shared. Kerr and his wife Jan, who are now on the Donor Family Council, have received letters and phone calls from some of the recipients.
LifeBanc Cleveland will be the first stop on the memorial run's itinerary.
''Last year two of the recipients [of Big Mike's organs] rode with us,'' Joseph Kerr said.
''Bill came from Long Island, N.Y., and Tom is from the North Canton area. . . . Mike is one of eight donors honored on the wall at LifeBanc in a shadow box with pictures and information on the donor. Stephanie Tubbs Jones also is one of the eight.''
''Last year, we had around 130 motorcycles that rode for my son and we probably had 200 to 250 people who had a dinner at the park and participated in our raffle. . . . It has been a free run the last two years because we want to have more people every year to ride in our son's memory.''
Interested in participating in the run in honor of Big Mike? Please register with Joseph Kerr at 330-605-0955 or email@example.com. Registration is 10 to 11 a.m., first bike out at 11 a.m. There will be games and lots of prizes.
Cancer families helped
Those who loved Stephen A. Comunale Jr. have made a commitment to nurture his memory and help others who, like him, have seen their lives hijacked by cancer.
Stephen, who had accomplished so much in life, professionally and personally, died Feb. 6, 2006. He was 27.
Those close to him established the Stephen A. Comunale Jr. Family Cancer Foundation to assist individuals and families battling cancer in our community.
The individual grant program yielded this applause-worthy information:
• Eighty local families received assistance in 2010 with everyday financial relief through the program. Another 195 families are expected to receive aid this year.
• Three Summer Horse Camps are in the works for June and July. ''We're grateful to be partnering with local nonprofit Victory Gallop and the Montrose Chick-fil-A for our summer camps,'' writes Foundation Associate Director Marisa Hoffmann.
• Back-to-School With Confidence Program Forty-seven local children touched by cancer will get new backpacks, school supplies and a voucher to Payless Shoe Source for two pairs of shoes in time for the school year. Thirty children were helped in this manner in 2010.
• Holiday Meals Program (November and December) ''Seventy-five local families who are currently battling cancer will receive complete holiday
meals, with all the fixings, to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes this holiday season,'' Hoffmann noted. ''Families arrange to pick up their meals the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas, or someone from Foundation happily delivers the meals to their homes.''
Interested in lending a hand with any of the foundation's programs? Please contact Hoffmann at 330-835-5985. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chick-fil-A in Fairlawn will make a donation to the foundation based on sales between 5 and 8 p.m. Thursday. You must use a coupon, available at the foundation's website, http://www.stephencomunale.org.
Eating to help others
Big, beautiful bouquets to students at the College of Wooster, who ramped up their consumption of Kellogg's cereals Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Frosted Flakes and Special K to help feed those in need in Wayne County.
Spokesman John Finn said it was part of Kellogg's Food Away From Home program, in which the company agreed to match every bowl consumed by students during the month.
''Our students really got behind the project,'' said Chuck Wagers, director of dining services. ''We hit the maximum target set by Kellogg's.''
According to Finn, the College of Wooster the first school in Ohio and only the third in the United States to participate in the project ''snapped, crackled, and popped'' its way to 714 boxes, or 6,400 servings of cereal, which will be picked up at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank on Wednesday at 8 a.m. and delivered to People-to-People Ministries in Wooster that morning.
Finn listed other projects students have undertaken to fight hunger:
''Wooster's Soup-and-Bread program enables students to eat lighter, less expensive lunches once a week during the school year and contribute $3 from each of those meals to a fund that is later distributed to various hunger agencies. Students also can donate surplus portions of their meal plans at the end of each semester to purchase food items from MacLeod's Convenience Store in Lowry Center that are then donated to People-to-People.''
WITAN rummage sale
WITAN (Women in Touch with Akron's Needs) is hosting a quality rummage sale and bake sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1361 W. Market St., Akron.
There will be a variety of fine, gently used wares for your purchasing pleasure: furniture, clothing, books, toys, jewelry, household goods, sporting equipment and more.
For information about the sale or to donate items to this worthy cause, please call Heather Jalbert at 330-281-1890 or Cheryl White at 330-607-5789.
All proceeds will go to WITAN's many community projects, such as Interfaith Hospitality Network of Summit County, Good Neighbors Food Pantry, Mobile Meals and OPEN M's free clinic.
WITAN has donated more than 2 million service hours and over $1.2 million in community grants since its 1943 inception.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com.