A Mountaintop woman, seasoned in cycling the many trails and country roads in this area, will soon bicycle from the white mountains of New Hampshire back to Pennsylvania. Physically pushing herself to the limit, Stephanie Grazio will cover 500 miles in less than a week, all to raise money for cancer patients.
“We’re doing it for the people who fought cancer and lost, who fought it and won, and who are still fighting it,” related Stephanie, who will ride with her boyfriend, Don Sensenig, of Pocono Lake, from July 23 to 29.
Stephanie and Don have been avid cyclists for the last few years and one of their friends had previously participated in the Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer. That friend suggested the charity event to them and, wanting to raise money for those who are suffering, the couple was eager to join.
The Perimeter Ride was started in 1983 by an Allentown schoolteacher who was looking to raise money for the American Cancer Society after losing two of his family members and a friend to the disease. The Perimeter Ride gets its name from the original journey, which was 1,000 miles around the border of the state of Pennsylvania.
Stephanie explained that the now-popular charity event is not something anyone can sign up for, but rather one has to have previously done it, know someone in it, or be selected by a lottery system to ride. Stephanie and Don were chosen because of their affiliation with others who have ridden, who vouched for their cycling skills.
“It’s something we really wanted to do because everyone’s affected by this,” she said of cancer. “It’s a disease that everyone at some time knows someone who’s been affected by it, either a close family member or friend.”
She went on, “That being the case, I’m fortunate that I’ve been very healthy so far. But it’s still a cause that’s important to me. I don’t want people to forget that it’s a real problem. There still isn’t a cure and it’s important that people be mindful and aware of that.”
To participate in the Perimeter Ride, Stephanie has been working on raising $2,000, from various events held on and around the mountain. Eighty-five percent of the money raised will go to the American Cancer Society of the Lehigh Valley, where it will be used to assist those suffering from cancer, by providing transportation, housing, or other necessities to those receiving cancer treatments.
The other 15 percent will go toward Dream Come True, a local organization similar to the Make a Wish program, where children who are seriously ill and battling cancer are granted wishes. Being able to raise money for that organization hits close to home to Stephanie, who works as a nurse for Pediatria, a Wilkes-Barre agency that provides medical care to sick children.
“I can’t go out and find a cure for cancer, but I can help in this way,” she said. “These are the ways I can give back.”
Stephanie began seriously cycling with Don about two years ago. They’ve covered nearly 80 miles of road on Sunday afternoons, cycling around Mountaintop. What they
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