Barre, VT– Central Vermont turned into a sea of motorcycles Sunday in honor and support of people battling cancer. The 15th annual “Bikers for Beth” fundraising ride kicked off in Barre, and all proceeds are donated to a different cancer patient each year.
“Bikers for Beth started in 2009 for Beth Hemenway, and she actually lost her battle before the ride happened that year,” Committee Member Cindy Brier remembers.
Brier says the 80-mile ride was supposed to only happen once in 2009, but organizers decided to bring the event back yearly because of the community support. Through nominations and interviews, a different donation recipient is chosen annually.
This year’s recipient is Corina Bedell.
“A year ago, on May 4th, I found out that I was positive for HER2 breast cancer, stage 2, and I thought I was just going to have a lumpectomy, do the chemo and some radiation and be done with it,” says Bedell. “Then I found out that wasn’t the case, the mass was a little larger.”
Between $9,000 and $13,000 has been raised each year and donated to aid medical expenses.
The ride ends with a barbeque bash, this year at Gusto’s Bar, where people can enjoy food, music, and a raffle.
Donna Poitras says amid the emotion, there’s still a lot of happiness.
“It’s the community coming together that needs our help. It’s very emotional, very exciting, it’s amazing the amount of people that are here so far,” says Poitras, a committee member.
Bedell says community support has been overwhelming; “the support that has come out since all this started has been amazing.”
“I don’t even think it’s the cancer that takes a lot away from you, it’s the chemo that takes a lot away you, and you’ll experience things you probably won’t ever want to share with other people, but you get through it, and you have to stay positive. There’s a silver lining in all of it,” Bedell says.
Over 200 bikers came out in support.
“I have got all these people,” says Bedell, looking to the crowd. “So much love, you can’t get any better than that!”
Bedell notes the importance of going in for a yearly mammogram.