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Benefit ride will raise funds for Crookston child hit by semi

All funds from the benefit ride, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 16, will go to Kaylee Acevedo and her family. Acevedo was hit by a semi-truck on her bike earlier this week, and her mother will take time off work to be with her daughter during her recovery in Fargo.

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Kaylee Acevedo, 10, is in the hospital after being struck on her bicycle by a semi in Crookston on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. // Contributed photo.

Jason Grochow has never met 10-year-old Kaylee Acevedo or her family, but when he heard about the girl's accident that has left her fighting for her life in the ICU , he knew he wanted to help.

"Me being a father and having a two-year-old daughter, my heart just broke instantly," said Grochow, who lives in Crookston. "I mean, it was outrageous. And me, I have a lot of friends, I ride bikes, I know quite a few clubs and people around the area, so I figured I'd just gather as many buddies with bikes as I could and rase as much money for the family."

Grochow didn't expect the event to be very big, but as of Thursday afternoon, Oct. 7, more than 130 people had expressed interest in the event on Facebook. The ride is scheduled to be held next Saturday, Oct. 16.

The ride is part of an outpouring of community support since the Oct. 4 accident, when police say the semi jumped the curb onto the sidewalk while making a turn from Highway 2 onto North Broadway, where Acevedo was sitting on her bike. Acevedo became entangled in the trailer's back tires and was dragged nearly a block and a half.

Acevedo was airlifted to Sanford in Fargo following the incident, where her family said she was responsive but needed her right leg to be amputated at the hip.

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Acevedo's mother, Rhonda Lee, known locally as the Crookston Walmart team lead who can often be seen wearing a yellow cape, intends to leave work to be with her daughter during her recovery.

All funds raised during the event will go directly to Acevedo and her family, according to organizers. While Grochow hasn't yet met Acevedo's family, he said he's in frequent contact with her mother about the event.

Chris Whelan, a Bemidji-based rider who has helped Grochow to organize the event with other members of the White Earth Riders Group, said he has also been surprised by the amount of local interest in the event -- but what doesn't surprise him is how quickly neighbors rallied together to help the family.

"(Grochow) asked me if I could join in on helping and stuff, and I jumped on the opportunity. I always do, and everybody I ride with does if it's something good we can do, you know?" he said.

Registration will open at 10 a.m. Oct. 16 at the Crookston Walmart, and will cost $20 per vehicle. The ride will start at 11 a.m., when bikers and other participants will make their way to The Other Place Bar in Fertile, Joe DiMaggio's Sports Cafe in Red Lake Falls, and Snow Sled Inn Bar and Grill in Gentilly for beverages before returning to the Highland Park Complex in Crookston for barbecue provided by Fozzies Smokin' BBQ.

All vehicles are welcome.

Participants may also contribute through a 50/50 raffle with a $20 raffle entry, as well as open donations. Those who can't attend but would still like to donate can Venmo @Theresa-Alme or Cash App $theresaalme.

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