Rod Benders planning big ride-by for Arell Clemons Jr.

Arell Clemons Jr.

By Mike Weland

Arell Clemons Jr. is SupermanMembers of the Rod Benders Car Club of Bonners Ferry are putting out a call to all car clubs and hot rod and motorbike enthusiasts in the region to turn out for a ride Wednesday to show love and support for Arell Clemons Jr., a three-year-old Superman born with a heart said to be defective, but so filled with love and light he touched the hearts of all around him.

Arell was born with a hole in a heart that sits in his chest in a different position than what is normal, causing blood to flow at an abnormal rate into his lungs. Three months before he was born, doctors diagnosed him with this rare condition and three days after he was born he underwent his first of many surgeries.

Just a few days ago, Arell and his family received news from doctors that there is nothing more that western medicine is able to do for him.

Ever since Arell was born, his parents and two siblings have spent their lives making sure that this sweet little boy could live the best and most comfortable life possible, spending countless hours in a hospital more than two hours away from their home.

Now, they’ve reached the terrible decision to take their young hero off life support. Wednesday’s parade and show of support will be one bright spot in an otherwise bleak and sorrowful time for the family, and the joyous smiles expected to light up Arell’s face will settle in time into warm memories for those whose lives he so briefly touched.

Participants are asked to meet and line up at Super 1 Foods, 6452 Main Street, Bonners Ferry, between 5 and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, cars polished and chrome shined if possible, but more important you’re there if you can’t. Organizers will be accepting donation in the parking lot before the entourage departs at 6 p.m. for the short ride to Arell’s home on Augusta Street. Feel free to bring a stuffed animal, flowers or a gift for the family, and feel welcome to honk and wave or stop by for a visit.

“Let’s raise this family up, showing the support and love that North Idaho has to offer,” organizers said. “Let’ make this big with a small gesture of our time. Freedom Riders Liberty or Death Riding Club, Broken Chains JC and the Rod Benders Car Club will be there to support this little man, and we hope you will be, too.”

Special invites for out the ride go out to the Troy Cruzers Car Club, the Libby Igniters, the Creston Valley Cruisers, the Sandpoint Injectors and the Priest River Asphalt Angels.

In addition to the ride, the crew at Mugsy’s Tavern and Grill, 7161 Main Street, Bonners Ferry, has launched a GoFundMe account in Arell’s name, and they are asking not only those in the community to pitch in, but their customers from around the world.

And Mugsy’s is open until 8 p.m. Wednesday, making it the perfect place for ride participants to relax and visit before hitting the highway and heading home. For reservations, call (208) 267-8059. Tell them you’ll be there for Arell.

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