An Indiana man with terminal cancer had his final wish granted when more than 100 bikers gathered outside his home and fired up their motorcycles, just hours before his death.
“You could tell he enjoyed the feeling of that one last rumble,” said Pat Schoff Gragg, one of the bikers who participated in the emotional display. “He was holding on.”
Veteran Jon Stanley of South Bend was battling terminal lung and brain cancer when he was sent home for hospice care last weekend.
When local biker David Thompson heard about his story Monday morning, Stanley’s family told him it was his dying wish to hear the roar of a motorcycle outside his home. Stanley was an avid biker himself, and had just purchased a brand new motorcycle before he fell ill.
“He was there on a bed and on oxygen. He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t communicate," Thompson told InsideEdition.com. “I told him, ‘I’m going to bring some bikes to you. You hang in there.'"
He immediately started spreading the word, posting to different Facebook groups and making calls to local clubs to see if anyone would like to meet up and ride toward his house.
“I was on a mission,” he said.
As promised, Thompson said he gathered more than 200 people on more than 100 motorcycles, and that evening, they drove off toward Stanley’s house together, engines revving.
“There were riders from other cities, other districts, other regions, jackets with patches from all sorts of riding clubs — everybody just came from everywhere,” Gragg told InsideEdition.com. “We rode over, surrounded his house and we revved. Windows were shaking, we knew he felt it.”
Thompson added, “You could just feel the vibrations. He knew we were out there. He raised his arm up.”
His family then asked if they could load Stanley into the sidecar of one of the bikes, and immediately four men volunteered to pick him up, and load him in.
His wife then hopped on the bike, and started revving the engine.
“It felt good," Gragg said. "It felt great. Everybody was crying, because we could just feel that we’re helping bring this man peace.”
Hours later, Stanley passed away.
“It was 96 degrees, we were hot. We’re in long pants and boots — you dress for the slide and not the ride so there were people in leather,” Gragg said. “But it wasn’t optional for most of us. There’s no strangers if you’re on a bike. If somebody needs help, by God, we’re going to do it.”
Stanley's family is now raising money for his burial costs. To donate, visit their GoFundMe page.