Poker Run to Raise Funds for Cystic Fibrosis

According to Maria Stiefeld of Bella Moda Hair Design in Mahopac, the louder a motorcyclist’s “pipes,” the safer a rider feels. The rumbling thunder that a motorcycle creates makes other motorists more aware of its presence, freeing a biker to ride as they please.

Mary Heady (left) and Maria Stiefeld (right) embrace as they hold a frame of pictures from last year's Poker Run.

In Stiefeld’s case, however, the “pipes” signify the struggle one endures if diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, an autoimmune that causes a thick mucus to grow within the lungs, digestive tract and other areas of the body. In order to combat this chronic lung disease, Stiefeld and fellow Bella Moda employee Mary Heady will celebrate their second annual Poker Run on Oct. 8 to raise money for cystic fibrosis.

“We had a great turnout last year, and we just want to get as many people to participate again this year,” Stiefeld said.

Dubbed “The Journey to Find a Cure for Cystic Fibrosis,” the Poker Run consists of five locations, beginning at Bella Moda and ending at the Claddagh Bar & Grill on Route 6. Contestants will receive a poker card at each of the five locations, and whoever had the best hand at the end of the ride will be eligible to win an array of prizes, from cameras to mini-laptops and Amazon Kindles.

In addition to the run, attendees can enjoy live music, food and other raffles at their final destination at the Claddagh. At 4 p.m., the soft-rock band Dead End will play for an hour and a half, with the female cover band Taboo to follow.

“Anyone, no matter if they’re riding on a motorcycle or in a car, can participate in the Poker Run,” Stiefeld said. “It’s $20 for a rider, and $10 for a passenger—all of which goes toward the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.”

The pair’s initial interest in raising money and awareness for cystic fibrosis came when a good friend of Heady’s, Michael Brennan, died of the disease. Since Brennan’s death 10 years ago, Heady and Stiefeld have formulated different ways to give back to a cause they feel so strongly for.

Their first Poker Run netted them $7,744, with 116 bikers and a slew of other cars contributing to the cause. This year, the ride is in loving memory of Brennan, as well as a local family whom holds a special place in the hearts of Heady and Stiefeld. The family’s daughter, Jacqueline, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was just 8 months old.

Registration begins at 1 p.m. in Bella Moda’s parking lot. Engines will begin to roar at 1:30 p.m.




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