Family gears up for "Yayo's Ride" to benefit Lawton woman battling cancer

Family gears up for "Yayo's Ride" to benefit Lawton woman battling cancer
MARLOW, OK (KSWO) -This weekend, a Marlow family will host its annual motorcycle run to benefit a Lawton resident who's battling cancer.
Yayo Varela and his family started "Yayo's Run" 11 years ago after cancer claimed the life of a relative. The family and a group of friends wanted to raise money to help other families with assistance and medical bills. This year's ride is honoring Geesje Lotman who's been diagnosed with stage three pancreatic cancer. Bikers will ride from Yayo's house in Marlow to Harley Davidson in Lawton for lunch and drinks.
Then, they'll head up to Chickasha and back home to enjoy some dinner together at Yayo's.

What once started out with just 7 riders 11 years ago, has now turned into a community event with over 100 people and even more expected this weekend.

Yayo Varela says cancer took the life of one of his family members and his sister is currently battling the disease as well. He says each year they find a family to help because he knows first-hand how devastating cancer is.

"We feel bad for the people that lost, and for the families that lost people, so we try to make them a little bit happy, you know."

Yayo's run usually raises a minimum of four thousand dollars that goes directly to a family battling cancer.

"It just makes you feel good. It makes you feel good to have people come over and help a family that's in really bad need."

Yayo's son, Eduardo, says he remembers the heart ache and the difficult times as his family fought through his Aunts cancer. He says being able to put someone else's mind at ease and take the medical bills off their hands is indescribable.

"We're just happy and we're glad we're able to help other people out this way. You really can't express how somebody feels you when help someone else out."

A family tradition is what Yayo says this ride has become. Both of his son's and cousin bought a bike after Yayo started riding, so they could all go on trips together. Now, they're hooked and glad they can ride for a purpose.

"I didn't have a bike, never rode before and then we rode together to Albuquerque, New Mexico and he broke me in pretty good."


To raise even more money for the Lotman family, they're auctioning off a guitar and other items that were donated. They're also selling $10 tickets for a drawing for someone to drive home in a new car. He says they're hoping to break a record and get more than 200 riders this weekend, but knows no matter how much they raise, every little bit helps.

"If we contribute anything on our half, that goes a long way."

We reached out to Gessje Lotman, but she was out of town and unable for interview. She did say she's very grateful to be in a community that's supporting her and helping her get through this hard time.

If you would like to participate or donate in Yayo's run, you can show up at the start of the ride Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at 411 South Broadway in Marlow. It is $20 a person or $30 per couple.

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