MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When it comes to breast cancer awareness, often times when one person is diagnosed with the deadly disease, their loved ones are also affected.
Saturday morning, 70 men are biking from Germantown, Tennessee, to Rosemary Beach, Florida, in honor of the women in their lives who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
This is actually a fundraiser that is called Ride 2 Rosmary which began in 2011 when the man who started it all went through a really tough time in his life.
Chuck Bolton just wanted to start a new chapter in his life by riding his bike to Rosemary Beach, Florida. Eight other men showed their support and joined him, and that number has continued to grow.
“It’s been a hard year. It has depleted a lot of people emotionally. This ride will be very special as it is every year because the pain that we have been through is a portion of what the cancer patients go through,” Bolton expressed.
He added that he and the other cyclists will have to dig deep for courage, love, and patience during this year’s ride. Bolton said he knows about cancer, all too well.
“My wife is a cancer survivor. She had breast cancer and had treatment for it. I think it’s been 7 years now that she’s been cancer-free,” Bolton said. “My mom passed away with small cell lung cancer and so has my mother-in-law. All three were patients at the West Cancer Center.”
It is why Bolton and a group of other men are showing their support on Saturday morning as they cycle from Germantown to Florida to honor loved ones who have battled cancer.
“This is where we’re very fortunate to where we can unplug, and as I say, ‘We can be boys again and have some joy, have an adventure, but love each other,’” Bolton said.
This charitable cycling event started in 2011 with just nine riders, and now, 12 years later, it has raised $1.6 million and 70 riders are joining. Bolton stated that he looks forward to the brotherhood on the 530-mile ride, 5-day journey -all for the fight against cancer.
“Life is a lot more meaningful when there’s a purpose greater than myself. I think that really helps with being so close to cancer, and also with the loss of my son this summer, that every day is precious and I don’t want to waste it,” Bolton said.
Colette Bartosch, whose dad is participating this year, said she’s just happy to see the men cycle for a purpose.
“I’m proud of all the riders for going to Rosemary, ‘cause they work really hard.”
West Cancer Foundation Operations & Donor Relations Manager Keri Burnette said the money will help to cover multiple expenses for research and cancer patients.
“Everything from providing transportation to life-saving treatments, to providing screening mammograms for the underinsured and the underserved, postmastectomy supplies, and lymphedema garments for patients that are in need.”
The ride is about 100 miles per day. The send-off is at 9 a.m. Saturday from the West Cancer Foundation in Germantown.
The group is looking to raise $350,000. Also, when the men arrive at Rosemary Beach, most of their families will meet them there to welcome them. To donate, click here.