Two summers ago, Ogden police officer Brett Skinner was preparing for his annual physical fitness test. Those preparations weren't going so well.
"He was running every day to get ready, but he just didn't have the energy," recalls his wife, Wendy Skinner.
A blood test showed that Skinner, who attended Layton High School and earned a degree in criminal justice at Weber State University, was anemic. A subsequent colonoscopy confirmed the bad news: Skinner had stage III colon cancer.
It hadn't spread to his organs; Skinner underwent six months of chemotherapy, then began the long wait.
At the beginning of this year, he got sick again. They thought it might be kidney stones, but doctors found lesions on his liver.
"They were going to do surgery, but within three weeks, it had spread all over," Wendy Skinner said. "So they went with another round of chemo."
Now that 48-year-old Skinner's battle with cancer has entered stage IV, his friends and family are inviting the public to join him in his fight. Brett's Battle Ride & Car Wash takes place today, in the Top of Utah, with all proceeds donated to the Skinner family.
The day's activities start with a car wash from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Triple Stop Chevron, 1034 W. Gentile St., Layton. The owner of the car wash is a close friend of Skinner's and has agreed to donate 100 percent of the $10 car wash ticket sales to the Skinner family.
Then, at 5 p.m., Brett's Battle Ride departs for a police-escorted motorcycle ride around the Top of Utah. The ride begins at Layton Cycle & Sports, 60 N. Main St. in Layton, travels up Weber Canyon and over Trappers Loop, around Pineview Reservoir and over North Ogden Divide, finishing at Newgate Motorsports, 3745 S. 250 West, Ogden (behind the Newgate Mall). Cost for the ride is $25.
And, because it involves a police escort, riders will wait for no man.
"If you counted up all the stoplights you'll get to run, it's like $1,600 worth of traffic tickets, for just a $25 donation," joked Nick Faulkner, organizer of the event.
Faulkner is general manager at Layton Cycle & Sports. He's also Brett Skinner's younger brother. (Well, technically, half-brother, but you'll never get either one of them to settle for that distinction.)
Finally, at 7 p.m., following the ride, there will be an after-party event at Newgate Motorsports featuring a hamburger dinner, music, a motorcycle show and a raffle.
All are invited to the after-party, Faulkner said. Admission is included in the price of the motorcycle ride; for those who don't ride, admission is $20.
A co-sponsor of today's event is the Ogden Police Benefit Association. Incoming OPBA president Sgt. John Thomas said the association is happy to help Skinner.
"I don't know if there's a word to describe Brett," Thomas said. "When you need something, he's there for you. He'd walk by, say something to pick up your spirits. He's just always helping others.
"It's one big family, the law enforcement family," Thomas said.
Indeed, after Skinner exhausted his own sick leave, Ogden police employees stepped up and donated hundreds of hours of their own leave to ensure that their fellow officer continued to receive a paycheck. But in the end, Skinner needed to go on long-term disability. He resigned from the department May 31.
For more information on the event, call 801-544-2241.