Fundraiser set for Pennsylvania Furnace man who needs marrow transplant

A woman from the small Huntingdon County community of Donation is seeking donations to help a Pennsylvania Furnace man in his battle against bone-marrow deficiency.

Pam Hayes-Houldin, owner of Horsepower Farm, has spearheaded a fundraising campaign for Saturday night at Tussey Mountain for Glace Rider, who will undergo a bone-marrow transplant next month. That surgery will cause Rider to be out of work for months, Hayes-Houldin said.

Rider is a local farrier and blacksmith, and has been shoeing Hayes-Houldin’s horses for more than 20 years. Rider and his family are also longtime members of Tussey Mountain Ski Area.

Rider ran the snow-making machine and groomed the mountain, while his wife Laura is an avid skier and his two sons — Glace and Nate — are members of the ski team.

About four years ago, Rider began to feel ill. After numerous tests and misdiagnoses, Hayes-Houldin said, Rider was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, which impairs the production of blood cells.

“It breaks your heart to hear news like that,” Hayes-Houldin said. “They’re like family and they’re just the most lovely family, and we wanted to help.”

Hayes-Houldin said the original transplant was supposed to happen in November, but got postponed when Rider had a high fever after undergoing chemotherapy.

Rider has been treated at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Hayes-Houldin expects about 150 people to attend the benefit Saturday night and hopes to raise at least $5,000.

“They’re a very proud and private family, and were initially worried about how they would survive without a little bit of that income that would be missing when Glace can’t work,” Hayes-Houldin said. “My thoughts were that we better do something to help out and take the worry out of it.”

Hayes-Houldin described the Rider family as humble and overwhelmed by the community’s generosity.

“I think they’ve finally had time to digest the amount of support they’re getting and are thankful,” Hayes-Houldin said.

Hayes-Houldin said other local blacksmiths who are taking over for Rider are putting money that he would normally get for shoeing horses into the Glace Rider fund account at Kish Bank.

Rider will be unable to attend the fundraiser due to a weak immune system, but Hayes-Houldin said she is hoping to be able to conect with him by Skype during the event.