Ride for Jackson

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COLUMBIA - Thirteen-year-old Jackson Morton was diagnosed with cancer in December 2016.

"You can't even describe the emotion at the time," said Becca Crossgrove, Morton's mother. "It was a five minute intense cry and then, 'okay, how do we handle this,'".

Morton was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), a blood disease that affects white blood cells rarely resulting in death. Morton's prognosis is positive and he will receive treatment until at least 2020.

When Josh Reams and the Columbia-based "Hooligans" group heard of Morton, they sprang into action. The Hooligans are a group of bikers who perform charity rides and fundraisers for struggling members of the community. Saturday, a few hundred people will ride through the back roads of mid-Missouri, with the proceeds benefiting Morton.

"A friend of mine was helping with Jackson and wanted to know if we would be interested in helping," Reams said. "We hit it off with [the family] and there was no question we wanted to be here and do something for Jackson."

The ride begins at 11 a.m. with stops in Fayette, Centralia, and Columbia. When the riders return to the starting point, at Columbia's D&D Pub n Grub, there will be an auction. All proceeds will go to support Morton's medical bills.

Crossgrove said the support the family has received has been overwhelming.

"It's hard to wrap your head around. We have an amazing community. Our community has done so many things to support us, to stand beside us through this. It's almost overwhelming to even think about."

She said Saturday's ride will be when Morton's situation comes full-circle.

"It's going to be a moment of realization that this is what our life is with this disease. We are out here with all this people loving us and supporting us and this day is for him," she said. "I don't know what to expect. I'm sure it'll be an amazing day, but I know I'll need to bring my Kleenex."

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