Blue Knights NC XI Host Poker Run for Officer Battling Cancer

Lindsay Robins
Staff Writer

Robert Beard is a man of faith, husband, father, grandfather, and has spent the last fifteen years of his career in law enforcement as an officer with the Statesville Police Department. Beard is also battling Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

This is Beard's fourth battle with cancer, the second with this particular form. He was first diagnosed in September of 2017, and again in May of 2018 when it resurfaced. He has been through traditional radiation, proton beam radiation therapy, two different chemotherapies, hyperbaric treatments, and multiple surgeries. Beard's mouth is currently wired shut and he has lost ninety percent of his tongue. His wife, Matoka Beard, speaks for him while he's in this stage of healing. He is also able to write notes to communicate. While the financial and emotional toll of battling cancer has been hard on Beard and his family, they remain positive.

"Truthfully, it's our faith in God", Matoka explained. "We've put it in his hands and we trust Him to get us through this. Don't get me wrong, we have good and bad days. On those bad days, the Lord does something or brings somebody our way, that brings us joy."

On Sunday, September 15th, the NC XI chapter of the Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, located in Claremont, hosted a poker run fundraiser for Beard and his family at the VFW Post 3503 in Newton. The fundraising event included door prizes and raffle drawings, with live music and a meal at the end of the ride. The route for the poker run was approximately 120 miles long and offered a mix of curvy roads and straightaways for the motorcycle enthusiasts.

"When you've got an officer like Robert, who has been through one heck of an ordeal, those of us that wear the badge just want to help each other", said Mike Hale, Vice President of the Blue Knights NC XI. "That's what the Blue Knights are all about and I'm glad we could do this for him".

The Blue Knights are made up of active and retired law enforcement officers that enjoy riding motorcycles. They facilitate fundraisers throughout the year for various agencies and individuals. This poker run raised much-needed funds for Beard's medical treatments and transportation expenses.

To stay up to date with Beard's progress, visit the #TeamRobertBeard group on Facebook or visit

For more information about the Blue Knights, visit