LACONIA — Fifteen-year breast cancer survivor Brenda Ganong recently hosted the 11th Annual Brenda's Ride with Friends: Fighting Cancer One Mile at a Time. The day was a huge success, raising $11,200 for the Oncology patients at LRGHealthcare.
Brenda's Ride started in 2003 with just 35 participants and has continued to grow with each passing year. The 177 motorcycles comprising 238 bikers all convened at the Weirs Beach Lobster Pound the morning of August 17, setting off for a beautiful ride around Lake Winnipesaukee. Lead by Alton, Laconia, Meredith, Northfield, and Tilton Police Department volunteers, the convoy arrived back at the Lobster Pound mid-day for a cookout, raffles, and live music courtesy of Matt Langley and band AXIS.
"This year's Brenda's Ride with Friends was one of the best yet. The weather was perfect and there was a really great vibe all day," says Ganong. "We were thrilled with the outpouring of support from all of the riders, sponsors, friends who came for the cookout and to hear the band, and of course our loyal volunteers. Brenda's Ride continues to thrive, and knowing that we're helping patients right here in our own community is very rewarding."
Proceeds from Brenda's Ride with Friends are used to assist Oncology patients in a number of ways, to help lighten the financial burden during an already very tough time. Funds have been designated to: help with co-pays for ports; assist with co-pays for prostheses; purchase gas cards and cab vouchers to get patients to appointments; and to buy disposable phones/phone cards to be able to get in touch with patients. In one case a recliner was purchased for one terminally-ill patient who could no longer sleep in a bed.
"This year we were able to purchase a blanket warmer for the Oncology Suite; you wouldn't believe the comfort a warm blanket brings to some people as they are receiving their treatments, explains LRGHealthcare VP of Clinical Support Services/Director of Oncology Marge Kerns. "We were also able to help with funeral expenses for a very young patient whose family needed assistance. Oftentimes the Oncology Department is just one little piece of the puzzle in helping to alleviate some financial stress for families. The recipients of these funds are people whose lives have been thrown a curve ball and it is a heartwarming feeling to assist people in these ways -- knowing it brings them a bit of comfort and stability. Without the support of people like Brenda and her team of volunteers, this would never be possible," states Kerns.
What goes around comes around. One patient who received assistance from the Brenda's Ride fund years ago made a visit over the holidays to the Oncology Department with a check in hand. In his time of need he received help, and this was his way of paying it forward.
The August 17 Brenda's Ride welcomed several high-level supporters including $1,000 Gold Sponsor Winner's Circle Auto Sales; $500 Silver Sponsors Brady Companies, The Looney Bin, Pilgrim Consolidators, and Roche Realty; and in-kind donors AXIS, Binnie Media, Body Covers, D'Andrea Foods, Giant Towing, Gilbert Block, Northeast Radio Group, Reinhart-Agar (Brad Preston), South Shore Quality Meats, The HAWK 104.9, and 1350AM Radio. Support also came from Shirt Sponsors, auction donations, and many businesses generously donated goods and services to the event.
"The staff and patients at LRGHealthcare are incredibly grateful to Brenda and John Ganong and all of their friends and family who continue to make each Brenda's Ride such a success," states LRGHealthcare Annual Fund & Special Events Manager Becky Doherty. "The team at the Lobster Pound always goes above and beyond for this event; Matt Langley and band AXIS had everyone on their feet; the sea of motorcycles seemed endless. Brenda has the most bighearted friends and LRGHealthcare is very fortunate to be the beneficiary and a part of this great day."