Community Rallies Around Special Olympics Team After Bike Thefts

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More than a dozen motorcyclists geared up for a 50-mile ride to raise money for a group of Special Olympians.It's all part of an effort to raise money for the Jackson Special Olympics cycling team who were robbed of their bikes last week.

Motorcyclists started in St. John's, making a stop in Mason before they headed down to Jackson.

It's just one of the things the Mid-Michigan community is doing to support these athletes.

From an empty garage to a gym filled with bikes, the Jackson Special Olympics cycling team is ready to ride again.

"The community has really stepped up and has donated enough bikes for us to be able to start our practices tomorrow night," said Mary Turk, Special Olympics Cycling coach.

Seven regular bikes and eight tricycles were stolen from the team's storage garage. With 32-athletes there weren't enough for the team to hold their first scheduled practice last week.

But thanks to an outpouring of support, all the bikes have been replaced.

"I was shocked that it happened, I was shocked at the fast response that we have received from the Jackson community and other communities," Turk added.

Now the team's collection is growing, the donations helped them double the number of bikes they had before the theft. Turk says it will help more people take to the pedals.

"If we get a new athlete that joins and don't have a bike I'll be able to just put them on a bike and let them start immediately," she explained.

The donations keep rolling in. Marsha Perilloux helped organize Monday night's motorcycle ride that's trying to bring the team some needed funds.

"Sending a check in just wasn't good enough so we decided to make a run for it and raise some money for these Olympians," she said.

Organizers of Monday's benefit ride are asking for a donation of $25 per rider. Money the team can use to get all their donated bikes ready for the season.

"It was important to us to just step up and bring the smiles back to them," Perilloux added.

Add that to the gym full of bikes, and the team has a lot to be smiling about.

"It's heartwarming, it's really heartwarming to see that we can come together for any need in our community," Turk added.

Police have yet to catch the people who stole the bikes. If you have any information that could help, contact the Jackson Police Department.

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