Nearly 600 cyclists, including 17 from the Baltimore area, biked 180 miles on August 14-15 as a part of the 10th annual Bike4Chai event. This event raised money for Chai Lifeline, “which provides emotional, social and financial assistance to children with life-threatening or lifelong illnesses and their families,” according to the organization.
On the morning of August 14, the event kicked off in Princeton, New Jersey. The route for Bike4Chai was scenic, going from New Jersey to the Pocono Mountains, ending at The World’s Greatest Finish Line, the entrance to Camp Simcha Special.
Camp Simcha Special is Chai Lifeline’s overnight camp for kids with chronic illnesses located in Glen Spey, New York.
Cyclist Ben Weiskind of Pikesville participated in the event in honor of his daughter Sarah Naomi, 15. Sarah Naomi received a heart transplant in 2015 at Johns Hopkins Hospital at age 10 after becoming chronically ill. She has since recovered and attended Camp Simcha for the past four years.
“What Chai Lifeline does for my daughter is giving her that opportunity to forget about her illness,” said Weiskind. “At camp, she is accepted for who she is and isn’t defined by her diagnosis. She has the opportunity to connect with peers who have experienced similar challenges and have fun.”
Weiskind enjoys biking and chose to get involved with Bike4Chai out of gratitude for all Chai Lifeline has done for his daughter.
“These kids go through challenges that make them grow up so fast. It’s my way of giving back and I have nothing to lose by asking someone to simply donate their dollars to help this incredible organization continue to help,” Weiskind said.
Local Baltimore dentist Dr. Samuel “Shmuli” Wealcatch also participated with his three adult sons Binyomin, Daniel and Gavriel.
“I enjoy going together with my kids,” said Wealcatch. “Bike4Chai brings people from all over together. It’s very rewarding and a lot of fun. Having the opportunity to get involved and seeing the kids in camp greet us at the finish line is very heartwarming.”
Bike4Chai helps to fund Chai Lifeline’s over two dozen year-round programs and services, including professional case management; counseling; meal delivery to hospitals and homes; transportation to medical appointments; Camp Simcha and Camp Simcha Special; and more.”
This event followed after its successful sister event “Tour de Simcha” on July 16.
For more information, visit bike4chai.com.