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Heidi's Chain of Hope to use pedal power to raise funds for Cancer House of Hope

By Ashlene Ferris
Staff Intern

WESTFIELD Pedal for hope on the road to a cure. The Cancer House of Hope will host its eighth annual Heidi's Chain of Hope Bike Ride on May 17.
The Cancer House of Hope, a Westfield- and Springfield-based non-profit organization, provides group support for people with cancer as well as their families and friends.
Beth Thurber, coordinator and eight-year veteran of Heidi's Chain of Hope, said that although the bike race is on the smaller side overall, the riders are still able to raise money for a wonderful cause.
"It's a local ride and a lot of the same bikers come back every year, along with new ones who want to be a part of this experience," she said. "It's a really good feeling knowing you're helping people and their families. Even if it doesn't affect you personally there's something everyone can do to help."
Riders can choose from three different routes: 10, 25 or 50 miles. Each route is supported with rest stops along the way offering food, drinks and bike mechanics.
Cheryl Gorski, executive director of the Cancer House of Hope, said fundraisers such as this are vital to maintaining services.
"We provide a place for people to come and connect with other people who have cancer to find comfort, compassion and hope from one another and their families and friends," she said.
"Non-profits are looking to maintain in this tough economy, and you can't depend solely on one source of funding because if you want to ride out the storm you have to get creative," Gorski continued.
The registration deadline for Heidi's Chain of Hope Bike Ride is May 13.
The registration fee for adults 17 and older is $25, in addition to a $200 minimum pledge amount. Registrants 16 and under must pay $10 in addition to $100 minimum pledge amount.
If registering on the day of the event the fee will be $30. A free T-shirt will be provided to the first 75 entries received.
All three rides start and finish at the Cancer House of Hope, 86 Court St. in Westfield. All riders are treated to a cook-out with music and chair massages after the ride.
The top three fundraisers will receive a prize.
For more information or for registration forms, call 224-1328 or send an e-mail to heidischainofhope@charter.net.