Biker Rides to Raise Money For Cystic Fibrosis
When Ed Shevlin leaves on his motorcycle trip to the West Coast next month, his thoughts will be with a young child who is stricken with cystic fibrosis.
Shevlin, a lifelong resident of the Rockaways, will be leaving Rockaway Beach on July 14 for a cross-country trip to Rockaway Beach, Oregon, to raise money for cystic fibrosis in the name of baby Anthony Smith, who was born with the disease on February 27 of this year.
Shevlin's trek was originally to be for pleasure until he found out that the grandson of a fellow worker, Bob Cawthorne, at the New York City Department of Sanitation, was born with cystic fibrosis.
"I realized the trip can be turned into a tremendous fundraising event," said Shevlin, who hopes to get sponsorships for his ride. "It will benefit people all over the world."
On the same day Shevlin leaves on his trip, Anthony's father - U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Eric Smith - will be shipping off to Iraq for his second tour of duty there.
"They thought it was fantastic," said Shevlin. "I'll have a motorcycle escort from Portland to Rockaway Beach."
In addition, on July 31, there will be a barbecue and street fair to celebrate Shevlin's ride. He returns home using a different route on August 1.
Shevlin hopes to $50,000 to raise for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation with his 8,000 to 9,000 mile trip.
"When you support the CFF you get more bang for your buck," said Shevlin, who pointed out that CFF gives 91 cents of each dollar to research. "The money I raise will be so valuable and go a long way."
CFF is also a charity supported by the sanitation department's Emerald Society, of which Shevlin has been a member since 1993. He is also a member of the DSNY Emerald Society Pipe and Drum Band for the last 10 years.
"The Emerald Society has cystic fibrosis as a charity, and each year has a golf outing to raise money for research," continued Shevlin.
In the 1950's, a patient with Cystic Fibrosis was not expected to live past the first grade. With research and advancements, today a patient can live to 36 years of age.
There is no cure for the disease that, according to the CFF website, "causes mucus to build up and clog some of the organs in the body, particularly in the lungs and pancreas. When mucus clogs the lungs, it can make breathing very difficult. The thick mucus also causes bacteria (or germs) to get stuck in the airways, which causes inflammation (or swelling) and infections that lead to lung damage."
To help Shevlin in his quest to raise money, you can go to the CFF Bikers for Breath website to pledge a sponsorship at: Westchester. cff. org/bikers. Just look for Shevy's Ride for Breath. All donations are tax deductible.
Joining Shevlin on the trip is Mike Gallagher, a sergeant for the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.
"I want to turn despair into hope," concluded Shevlin. "I want to give [Anthony] a future. Be optimistic."
To keep up with Shevlin's three-week cross-country trip, his diary will be posted on his website, and in future issues of The Wave.