Brielle's Brigade prepares for state-wide ride

"Brielle's Brigade" members Paul Cicco and Jill Tedeschi spend some time with Brielle Laplante (on bike) Jaclyn Laplante (right) and Ed Moses's daughter, Rebecca Moses.
By Sarah M. Corigliano, Assistant Managing Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW Town resident Edward Moses and other cyclists have teamed up in honor of his niece, Brielle Laplante.

Seven-year-old Brielle must undergo a bone marrow transplant to treat lymphoblastic leukemia. Moses said she was diagnosed in 2003 and was finishing what her family thought would be the last of her chemotherapy treatments when doctors saw that the cancer had returned.

Brielle needed a bone marrow transplant, and her four-year-old sister Jaclyn was a perfect match. Even with the transplant, Laplante faces a long road to recovery.

To help support her in that recovery and to help raise money to research a cure, Moses and other cyclists will participate in the Pan Massachusetts Challenge (PMC) as "Brielle's Brigade." The cyclists will ride from the New York border of Massachusetts to Provincetown over the course of several days. The actual PMC begins in Sturbridge, but the team opted to make it a true state-wide ride.

"I've been cycling for most of my life the last 20 years or so, on and off," Moses explained. "When Brielle had the reoccurring leukemia, I decided I would ride to raise money for cancer research."

Moses said he talked to different friends around the winter holidays, and they formed a group of seven bicyclists.

"It ranges from people who have ridden very consistently for years, and people who haven't ridden since they were 13-years-old," he added.

The cyclists are East Longmeadow residents Glen Witwer, Paul Cicco and Jill Tedeschi; Simsbury, Conn. resident Jim Creighton; Brielle's aunt Marie Laplante from Texas, and Mike McLaughlin.

To train, Moses said a group of the cyclists have ridden around Quabbin Reservoir, which is about 60 miles. He added that it is just under 200 miles from Sturbridge to Provincetown.

Moses said Brielle helped design the custom cycling shirts the team will wear. The shirts say "Brielle's Brigade" on the front and back and feature the first grader's design a butterfly going through the team's name.

Team members sold sponsorships on the shirts to raise money toward the group's fund-raising goals. Each PMC rider must raise $3,300. Moses hopes to raise $10,000.

To help support Moses' ride and Brielle's Brigade, there will be two local events. A benefit car wash will take place June 3 at 296 North Main St. from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For adults, there will be a cocktail party at Cobalt in Springfield. This event will take place July 13 at 5:30 p.m.

Brielle's Brigade will ride from Stockbridge to Provincetown beginning Aug. 3. The opening ceremony of the ride, which officially begins Aug. 4, will be broadcast on New England Cable News.

To donate to Brielle's Brigade by mail, make checks payable to the PMC, the Jimmy Fund, or any combination. Donations are tax-deductible. Send checks directly to Moses:

Edward Moses

47 Nottingham Drive

East Longmeadow, MA 01028.

For more information about the Pan-Mass Challenge, go to "Featured Story Links."

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