On July 29, Joshua Joel will join more than 600 bikers to ride a shared 60,000 miles as part of Bike4Chai 2021. Now in its 12th year, the annual cycling event raises funds for Chai Lifeline, the international children’s health support network which provides social, practical, and financial assistance to children with life-threatening and lifelong illnesses and their families.
A week later, on Aug. 5, Rachel Leff will take part in Tour de Simcha 2021, which also benefits Chai Lifeline.
“In second grade, one of my closest friends was diagnosed with leukemia,” Joel said. “Watching how Chai Lifeline jumped in to support his family during those years made a big impact on me. Later, another friend had a brain tumor, and I saw Chai Lifeline in action again. These special memories drive me to give back.”
This year’s one-day ride will feature two scenic but challenging route options of 80 or 103 miles. Cyclists will depart from Mountain Creek Resort in Vernon, N.J, stopping at the gates of Camp Simcha Special, Chai Lifeline’s summer camp for children with chronic illnesses and disabilities in Glen Spey, N.Y. There, the riders will be greeted by the campers, many of whom require wheelchairs, respirators, or other medical equipment to survive, before returning to Vernon for a finish line celebratory barbecue.
In the Tour de Simcha, more than 100 women will clip in on their bikes and ride thousands of miles in the annual, all-women’s cycling event that will benefit children and families living with pediatric illness.
Leff said, “Chai Lifeline gives these children opportunity after opportunity to experience something positive that will give them strength as they go through the struggles of their daily lives. However, throughout it all, the kids are the true inspiration!”
Participants will embark from the Glen Spey campus of Camp Simcha, Chai Lifeline’s flagship summer program for children with cancer, disabilities, and chronic illnesses. Riders will have the choice of either a 38 or 65-mile route along the scenic, rolling hills of the Catskills. They will finish at Camp Simcha Special, where they will be cheered on and celebrate their incredible achievement with the campers.