This ToLH is important to me for a number of reasons.
- My sister: In the summer of ’19, shortly after I was diagnosed with Leukemia, Betsy created “Team Joe”. I was blown away by the huge turnout of friends and family who rode/walked to raise awareness and funds for cancer care. These people were motivated and great things happened as a result.
- Critical mass: Betsy set a machine in motion. And let’s be clear about this…it is in this fashion that fundraising REALLY works. One person has a passion…a mission. That person creates a movement bigger than themselves. The group effort is born. Many people are now motivated to train, fundraise, participate. Before you know it, Team Joe is the top fundraising team (and not by a little bit), for 4 years in a row. As a result, even more people receive cancer care & treatment.
- A promise to myself: In 2019, I was motivated by the formation of Team Joe and what they accomplished. It was important to my recovery that so many people cared about me. It was important to others with cancer because they now had access to care. A month later, I saw a Pan Mass Challenge (PMC) display in the hallway at Dana Farber. It proudly proclaimed that the PMC raised $62m for cancer research/care in that single huge cycling fundraiser. It was then, just days before my bone marrow transplant, I made a promise to myself: If I survive this, I’m going to pay this forward. And the best way to do that is to ride the 200-mile Pan-Mass Challenge.
- The work begins: I bought a new road bike and a trainer just weeks before being admitted to Dana Farber. I knew it would be months before I could use them…if I ever got to use them. I was lucky. I survived. In the subsequent years, I continued to recover and ride. Now, 5 years later, I’ve gone from being a bystander in 2019 to riding the 75-mile 5,000’ vertical route in 2022 and Team Joe has raised roughly $100,000 for cancer care. While that’s certainly impressive, it’s still short of the promise I made to myself.
- Almost there: Next year, I’ll ride the 2-day 200-mile PMC from Sturbridge to Provincetown, MA on the 5th anniversary of my admission to Dana Farber and in so doing, I’ll fulfill the promise I made to myself in 2019. This year, however, is the next step toward that goal. This year, as part of Team Joe, I’m riding the 100-mile, 7500’ vertical VERY hilly Tour of the Litchfield Hills. Let me put that into perspective. The route I’m riding this year is the equivalent of cycling the length of RI….twice…PLUS biking up Mt. Washington…with an added thousand feet of height thrown in for good measure!
This is a HUGE ride!... And I’m training diligently for it because, like recovery from cancer, 1) it takes hard work and 2) even then, a person might not make it. I thank my sister, my family and my friends for motivating me 4 years ago. I survived and I’m paying it forward. I promise to do my best to complete this ride and I’m asking that you do your best to support Team Joe’s cancer care fundraising efforts. Please donate what you can…even if it’s only a little bit, every bit helps to those in need.
Tour of the Litchfield Hills 2023
The Tour is a non-competitive 12, 30, 55, 75 and 100 mile bike ride through the scenic Litchfield Hills for riders of all abilities. For walkers and runners, the Tour also offers 2, 4 and 6 mile routes through downtown Torrington. This year's Tour will be held on Sunday, August 6th.
The Tour's mission is to bring together community resources with the common goal of raising funds to support the care, treatment, education and prevention of cancer for residents living, working, or receiving treatment for cancer in Northwest Connecticut. By donating funds to The Cancer Care Fund of the Litchfield Hills, Inc., we will have a positive effect locally, in the Northwest corner, as our friends and families battle the disease.
For information on the routes, elevations, lodging, and photos, please visit www.tourofthelitchfieldhills.com
The 20th annual Tour of the Litchfield Hills will be held on Sunday, August 6th. The Tour benefits The Cancer Care Fund of the Litchfield Hills, Inc. There are rides of 12 miles, 30 miles, 55 miles, 75 miles and 100 miles. All of the rides are on the scenic, though hilly, roads of Litchfield County. There are also walking and running routes of 1.2 miles, 4 miles and 8 miles. All routes start and end at Coe Park, Rt. 202, Torrington, Ct.
Numerous rest stops provide water and fruit. Sag wagons patrol all the routes. The registration fee is $50 if you register by July 26th; $55 f you register on or after July 27th. The registration fee includes a t-shirt and a free picnic at the end. All participants are urged to raise funds to benefits The Cancer Care Fund of the Litchfield Hills Inc.