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From roaring engines to wedding bells

Larry Barnes and Toni Hunter-Grant will say their vows Sunday following the Ride for Research.

Larry Barnes and Toni Hunter-Grant will say their vows Sunday following the Ride for Research.

— While many brides spend hours perfecting every detail before their wedding, Toni Hunter-Grant will be doing no such thing. Instead, she and her soon-to-be husband Larry Barnes will be focusing on hitting 60 miles of pavement just hours before saying, “I do.”

The East Syracuse couple will take part in the annual motorcycle Ride for Research through the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund on Sunday, Sept. 11, to help raise money for cancer research at the Upstate Medical University.

Following the ride, ­which will begin and end at the downtown Dinosaur-B-Que, Barnes and Hunter-Grant will take each other’s hand in marriage in a “simple” ceremony among some fellow riders and others.

Hunter-Grant said there will be no “glitz and glam,” and the only possible white attire she may wear is jeans. Guests were also told to wear what they want, from “jeans to leather,” she said.

As for wedding gifts, the couple said they will pass.

“We don’t want to take away from what Carol (Baldwin) is doing,” said Hunter-Grant. “So we just asked everybody to please give the donations to the center instead of wedding gifts because that means more to us than anything.”

Both Barnes and Hunter-Grant have participated in the event for several years, but decided to make this year’s ride a bit more special.

“I always said I would like to get married on a motorcycle ride, and a cancer ride would be my first choice,” said Barnes, who lost his first wife Fran to breast cancer seven years ago.

Barnes stated that Fran’s body ultimately succumbed to the disease after suffering for 14 years.

“She went through hell,” he said. “It’s a gruesome way to go.”

Hunter-Grant, who was a close friend of Fran, is also very familiar with cancer: her family has had a long history of losing their battle to the disease.

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