In this Heart of the Midstate we are highlighting a couple who is biking hundreds of miles to help a 6-year-old in need of stem cell transplant. Luke Antolick was born a healthy child but at 3 months old he had a near SIDS incident that resulted in brain injury and a form of Cerebal Palsy.
Luke and his family are from Jersey Shore, PA but moved to Alabama. Some family friends from PA, Penny and Ken Parks, hold a yearly fundraiser to help take some of the financial burden off Luke’s family. They don’t only raise money but put their efforts into action.
Ken and Penny call themselves the Parks-Dean Team. Together they’ll ride 125 miles on the Pine Creek Rail Trail, in one day on August 31st. They are raising money to help fund Luke’s next stem cell transplant, which will be in January 2020. This is where the two take action for the fundraiser but financial donations can continue until January for Luke’s procedure.
The cost of the stem cell procedure is $6,500 and he has had multiple already. With their fundraiser the Parks-Dean team usually raises $5,000-$7,000/year to give Luke’s family to help with medical expenses. They said they know they can’t change the world but this is their way of changing their corner of the world.
Here’s a note Luke’s parents sent to ABC27 News:
Luke is 100% dependent for all activities and aspects in his life. We work hard to get him into every possible therapy we can find for him, especially the Stem Cell Treatments, which have helped his progress beyond belief. Penny and ken have been absolutely crucial to helping raise money for Luke’s Benefit Fund, which we are able to depend on every year since 2016 for not only stem cells, but equipment and other therapies as well!
We continue to be humbled by their efforts to help our family and raise awareness to Luke’s brain injury year in and year out. From day one I have called them our “Earth Angels” and i truly feel that they are. Their commitment and dedication to their ride is unbelievable. Not only are we grateful for them and what they do, but to all who support Luke’s Benefit Fund. For those that pray for him, check on him, donate to his fund, and hold him in their hearts as he continues along this lifelong healing journey, we are thankful.
Luke is a miracle. On paper, he should not be alive, not be showing emotions, not be able to control anything his body does, but he continues to improve and defy the odds. But more important than anything, he fills our hearts to the brim with joy and pride that he is our son. We will support and help him every single step of the way as long as we are able.
Alyson and Lance Antolick
Penny and Ken are each about 60 years old. They say they’re not super athletes by any means. Between the 2 of them have had six knee replacements and other health challenges. But Ken and Penny say they don’t let their physical challenges get in the way of their big hearts and their desire to “make a difference”.
Donations to this cause can be made online or via check. For information about how to donate to Luke’s family, click here.
If you prefer to mail a traditional check you can send it to The Parks-Dean Team, 8 N. Dickinson School Road, Carlisle PA 17015. Checks can be made payable to the ‘Luke Antolick Benefit Fund’. If you have any more questions or comments you can contact the team directly at (717) 448-4281.
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