- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
PJ Aldridge of Ocean City has beaten every statistic his doctors have given him — now his family and friends want the public to set some records for him, too.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, the fourth annual Solomons Island Bar Crawl will be held at Next Door Lounge, Stoney’s Kingfishers, Stoney’s Solomons Pier, the Tiki Bar and Calypso Bay.
The event starts at 5 p.m. at Next Door Lounge.
About half of the event’s proceeds will go to the PJ Aldridge Foundation, which Aldridge, 44, started about four months after he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in February 2010.
“[The doctor] said, ‘You’ll probably be dead in three months.’ I said, ‘Well that’s not going to work,’” said Aldridge, who said he had the idea to start raising money for cancer research when he was recuperating from surgery.
“I said I wanted to find a cure for this disease so no one has to go through what I’ve been through. ... It’s been an adventure, that’s for sure,” said Aldridge, whose organization donated $150,000 to University of Maryland’s Thoracic Cancer Research Fund last year.
He said he currently takes a chemotherapy pill every day, and at his most recent doctor’s appointment, his tumors were no longer visible.
“It was fantastic,” Aldridge said.
The bar crawl’s main organizers are his cousin, Lewis Aldridge of Lexington Park, and Mike Agamaite of Hollywood, Md.
Lewis Aldridge explained he used to own the former Solomons bar Hurricane Alley, and since the bar closed, its former employees have been holding events for various charities.
This is not the first time the charity has hit close to home, Lewis explained.
His first bar crawl was to raise money for diabetes research — a disease that killed his sister, Carrie Angel Aldridge Murray, in March 2011.
After his sister’s death, Lewis said of holding the bar crawl, “I didn’t think to go forward with it.”
“PJ said, ‘Your sister would want you to go on, to move forward,” Lewis said, continuing that this reminded him that “there are people out there who have it a lot worse.
“As hard as it is for me emotionally, it’s something I’ve got to do,” he said.
Agamaite explained that most of the money raised at the event will be through T-shirt and lanyard sales.
He said the bars usually offer specials for the event attendees and also provide free gifts that are raffled off to raise money for the causes.
“We normally try to split it as evenly as possible,” Agamaite said of which portions go to cancer research verses diabetes research.
In addition to being a stop on the bar crawl, Solomons Pier is also one of the event’s sponsors, along with Welcome Home Real Estate Brokers, for whom Lewis currently works.
Solomons Pier manager Jason Dwier said while he has never personally met PJ Aldridge, “It’s good to support a cause like this. ... There’s definitely some staff that can relate to it.”
Dwier said with summer coming to a close, the event would also help stimulate the Solomons economy.
“They should come out to help a great cause and celebrate Solomons Island, basically. It’s a great time as long as [you’re celebrating] responsibly,” Dwier said.