KENNEWICK, Wash.- Sunday at the Benton Franklin County Fairgrounds, horse racers came together to help a friend and his family.
Horse racing is something some local families just have in their blood. The Strege's are one of those families. Just weeks ago Ryan Strege was diagnosed with stage four malignant melanoma, but Sunday his friends gathered to help.
"I've never seen this many people at a race, I'm just totally thrilled and excited and humbled that this many people came out for this race," said Amanda Matthiessen, a friend of the Strege family. She organized the race today hoping to raise money to pay some of the bills. "They need medical bills, family bills, you name it we're gonna help them out."
Matthiessen expected she'd get some help from friends and local riders, but she got more than she could have asked for. "We're all just friends here helping out. Even people we've never met, we've never heard of, they're here to help because they heard of the family."
Strege's daughters were at the race Sunday. They said they couldn't believe how much support complete strangers could offer.
"It's just amazing what everyone is doing just amazing," said Emily Strege. "Just thank you to everyone. This means so much."
An estimated $5,000 was raised today to help the family. That's in addition to the $14,000 they've already raised online. For information on how you can donate visit the web page set up for the family here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-ryan-strege-s-fight-against-melanoma?c=home