On Thursday, August 2, more than a thousand campers, staff, family and friends celebrated the arrival of 550 Bike4Chai cyclists at The World’s Greatest Finish Line, the entrance to Camp Simcha Special. Bike4Chai, a two-day bicycling event now in its ninth year, raises funds for Chai Lifeline, the international children’s health support network which provides emotional, social, and financial support to children with life-threatening or lifelong illnesses and their families.
The event began Tuesday night, July 31, at the Marriott in Princeton, NJ, with a Pasta Party and special ceremony recognizing participants for their fundraising efforts. Rabbi Simcha Scholar, Chai Lifeline’s executive vice president, thanked the cyclists for their support and called Bike4Chai the “highlight of the summer” for many of the campers. “One hundred and twenty-seven children anxiously await your arrival,” he said.
Mikayla Hornick, a Chai Lifeline client and Camp Simcha camper, shared her personal journey and offered the cyclists words of inspiration. “I am hoping to ride my own bike again. Soon, maybe one day, I’ll ride alongside you,” she said to a standing ovation.
The next morning, cyclists departed on their 180-mile ride through three states undeterred by the early rain storms. Within an hour, the sun broke through the clouds, and riders enjoyed beautiful mountain views. Along the way, cyclists stopped at rest stops stocked with food, drinks and supplies, as well as lodging and entertainment in the Poconos’ Kalahari Resort on Wednesday evening.
On the afternoon of August 2, the cyclists arrived at Camp Simcha Special, Chai Lifeline’s overnight camp for children with chronic illnesses and medical challenges, where they were greeted by their friends and families as well as ecstatic campers and staff. Following the emotional entry into the camp, celebrations continued with dancing and an award ceremony.
The cycling tour continues to grow, with record participation and funds raised this year.
“Bike4Chai gives people the opportunity to imbue something they love with meaning and purpose,” said Yoel Margolese, director of Bike4Chai. “People want to make a difference and they want to help. When we combine that with an activity they already enjoy, we have a recipe for success.”
“The power of Bike4Chai emanates from the cyclists,” said Rabbi Sruli Fried, director of Chai Lifeline NJ and executive director of Bike4Chai. “The unity and camaraderie throughout the ride reflect the devotion our cyclists have for the cause.”
Bike4Chai follows on the success of its sister ride, Tour de Simcha, which took place July 3 and saw 230 women ride 78 miles to Camp Simcha Special for girls.
“Participants in Bike4Chai and Tour de Simcha are an inspiration to all of us,” said Rabbi Scholar. “With every mile they ride, they provide hope and joy to children facing serious pediatric illness and their families.”
To learn more, please visit www.bike4chai.com.