By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The 18th annual Reid’s Ride bike trek returns to the North Shore on Sunday, July 17.
The Reid R. Sacco Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Alliance was forced to hold two consecutive virtual fundraisers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alliance organizers say they’re excited that the traditional 28-mile bike-a-thon that begins at Lynnfield High School and concludes at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester is back in-person for the first time since 2019.
“We are thrilled that Reid’s Ride is returning to its traditional format that was interrupted for the last two years by the pandemic,” said Reid R. Sacco AYA Cancer Alliance Co-Founder/Executive Director Lorraine Sacco.
Reid’s Ride raises funds for the alliance and honors the life and legacy of late Lynnfield High graduate Reid Sacco, who lost a heroic battle with soft tissue sarcoma in April 2005 at the age of 20.
“Reid was a remarkable young man,” said Lorraine. “Unassuming, humble and gregarious, Reid was an accomplished scholar, musician, competitive swimmer and sailor. Cancer stole from this world a genuine hero.”
The alliance, which has raised close to $4 million since it formed in 2005, has donated the funds raised from the bike-a-thon to the Reid R. Sacco AYA cancer programs at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford.
“During his courageous two-year battle, Reid and our family learned first-hand of the tragic gaps that faced AYAs diagnosed with cancer,” said Lorraine. “During his cancer battle, Reid continued to teach children and teens to sail at the Kennebunk Beach Improvement Association summer program. Reflecting on his own life, he told us, ‘Life is like sailing. Change can upon you suddenly. But just because you sometimes have to alter your course, you don’t have to stop sailing.’”
Registration for the 18th annual Reid’s Ride begins at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 17. Residents can register to ride, join or create a team of riders. Participants will be able to create a personal or team fundraising page, where they can raise funds from family members, friends, classmates and colleagues. Prizes will be awarded to the riders and teams who raise the most funds.
The registration fee is $100 for adults and $50 for youths. The deadline for residents to pre-register for Reid’s Ride is Saturday, July 16 at 12 p.m.
Riders will depart LHS at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, and will travel through Lynnfield, Middleton, Danvers, Beverly, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Gloucester.
“The paved street route is ideal for road, hybrid and electric assisted-bikes, including tandems,” said Lorraine.
Reid’s Ride participants will be required to wear helmets. The fundraiser will feature technical chase teams monitoring the entire route for riders who need assistance.
There will also be signs and water stations located along the 28-mile route. A rest stop for refreshments and restrooms will be located at the Landmark School, 429 Hale St., Prides Crossing in Beverly.
Residents will have the opportunity to rent bikes from Urban AdvenTours once again.
After riders conclude the trek at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, the alliance will have food, prizes and activities for adults and children available.
Lorraine wrote on the Reid’s Ride website that the alliance will be honoring several people during this year’s fundraiser. She recalled that Saugus High School Class of 1973 graduates Jayne MacDougall Swirka, Wendy Waybright Raeder, and Joanne Heaney Suttmeier donated $1,000 in memory of Lisa Polese as well as Reid.
“Lisa Polese lost her life to cancer at age 16 in 1971,” Lorraine recalled. “She was a dear friend and classmate of the three donors. The alliance wishes to thank the three of them for their generosity and for recognizing the ride’s impact on the lives of AYA cancer patients. Reid’s dad, Gene, is also an alumni of SHS Class of 1973. Jayne Swirka is a teacher at Huckleberry Hill School. Jayne wrote to Gene, ‘Donating to Reid’s Ride directly helped us connect to our old friend, your son and future adolescents in need.’”
Lorraine also noted this year’s Reid’s Ride will be honoring late alliance supporter and Lynnfield resident John R. Mitchell.
“John passed away this past October at age 71,” said Lorraine. “John was a longtime sponsor, rider, advisor and donor for Reid’s Ride. He will be sorely missed by the alliance and Reid’s Ride. John was a Lynnfield resident and well-known for his philanthropy and passion for cycling, and as a leader in this community. The ride won’t be the same without him.”
Lorraine said the ride will be recognizing Edward J. Morgani as well.
“Ed passed away this past February at age 62 after a long battle with brain cancer,” said Lorraine. “Ed and Gene Sacco were long-time colleagues at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in Andover. Ed rode in Reid’s Ride for a number of years, even during his personal cancer fight.”
Gene concurred with his wife’s sentiment.
“We fondly remember the last time Ed rode with us,” said Gene. “He was so happy to be able to finish the ride in the face of the obvious toll his cancer and his treatments were taking on him.”
Lorraine thanked the Lynnfield community for coming together to support Reid’s Ride once again.
“The Lynnfield community is the heart of Reid’s Ride,” said Lorraine.