Miles matter when a person is sick.

For Rocky Gabel, some of the most memorable miles were on his motorcycle.

Gabel, of Valley City, created the Thundering Saints motorcycle group in memory of his late wife, Debbie. Doctors diagnosed Debbie with ovarian cancer in 2005. After her diagnosis, she took up an interest in motorcycles. When she was healthy, the couple often rode together, he on his bike and she on hers.

In 2008, after seven surgeries in three years, Debbie was too sick to ride alone. So she rode double with her husband.

Since then, the two ride together, though in a more spiritual way. In Debbie’s honor, Rocky and the Thundering Saints organize an annual motorcycle ride. Proceeds benefit local individuals fighting the battle with cancer, as well as Hospice of the Red River Valley in Valley City.

In 2019, those funds also supported another cause – the cancer center at Jamestown Regional Medical Center.

“The travel for cancer care is miserable,” Rocky said. “The JRMC Cancer Center will make a big difference.”

The JRMC Cancer Center is set to take its first patient on June 17.

JRMC expects more than 100 individuals to receive cancer care in its center each month.

The JRMC Cancer Center includes six sun-lit infusion rooms, two exam rooms, a nutrition area and nurses station. Patients’ individual treatment areas include state-of-the-art, sit-to-stand infusion chairs and companion chairs for visitors, smart TVs, WiFi and refreshments for patients and their companions.

People in rural communities like Jamestown and Valley City deserve access to state-of-the-art care close to home, said Trisha Jungels, chief nursing officer.

“Miles matter when you are sick,” she said. “We’re proud to offer this care in our conveniently located, ultra-modern space.”

The Debbie Gabel Memorial Cancer Ride is set for Saturday, July 27. The ride begins at the Valley City Eagles Club; 345 12th Ave NE in Valley City, N.D. Sign-up is open from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. with kickstands up at noon. Cost: $20 for riders, $10 co-pilots. There will be a $500 cash drawing for registered riders. For more information, call Rocky Gabel at (701) 490-0360.

For more information regarding the JRMC Cancer Center, call (701) 952-1050.