Chai Lifeline’s Tour de Simcha fundraising bike ride took place on the country roads of upstate New York with their largest group of riders to date last week.
The annual women’s ride raises funds for the international children’s health organization, Chai Lifeline, which provides social, emotional, and financial assistance to children with life-threatening and lifelong illnesses and their families.
The bike ride has become known for its inspirational “World’s Greatest Finish Line” at Camp Simcha, Chai Lifeline’s medically supervised summer program for children with serious illnesses.
Campers and staff greeted the riders at the finish line, making the event and the work of getting to this point even more meaningful to participants.
Among the riders were former Camp Simcha campers and staff, survivors of cancer and other illnesses, as well as relatives and friends who had lost loved ones but continued to ride in appreciation for what the camp does on behalf of this community.
“It was surprising how once I started training, I saw the strength that I had,” said Rosie, a former Camp Simcha camper.
“It was surprising how once I started training, I saw the strength that I had.”Rosie, former Camp Simcha camper
“I didn’t think I could do it, but I first started with five miles and the next thing you know, boom, I had way more stamina. We might not all be the strongest or the best. We have things that are very crushing, but just giving it your all and your fight to succeed is what matters. The fact that you get up every morning with all the things you go through makes you a warrior,” Rosie said.
17-year-old Rosie Grossbaum, born with cystic fibrosis, joined the ride for the first time. Rosie, from Morristown, New York, rode with her mother Rochie to give back to the organization that has had such an impact on their family.
“Rosie has been a camper at Camp Simcha since she was nine years old and it has played a huge role in helping her to be the incredible human she is today,” said Rochie. “Having witnessed Tour De Simcha as a camper, seeing Rosie experience this as a rider was so powerful.”
“Tour de Simcha is so much more than a fundraising event,” said Rabbi Simcha Scholar, CEO of Chai Lifeline. “It gives riders of all levels the opportunity to participate in a truly meaningful and exciting experience, while also making a real difference in the lives of children and families impacted by illness and loss.”
Dina Kalaty of Great Neck, NY, led a team of 14 riders in memory of her sister-in-law Dorina, Dina was joined by her daughter and niece as they participated in the ride. “Dorina was one of the most beautiful people inside and out,” said Dina. “She inspired and awakened people to their life’s purpose and so everything I do now has more meaning because of her, including this ride.”
Each summer, Camp Simcha, located in Glen Spey, New York, serves hundreds of campers from across the world. Described as "a hospital camouflaged as a camp,” Simcha provides children and teens with an optimal escape from their everyday challenges in a warm, safe, and nurturing environment.
To learn more about Tour de Simcha, visit www.tourdesimcha.org.