A Maryland father and son will bike 100 miles to raise money for Chai Lifeline, an organization that supports sick children and their families.
The Bike 4 Chai ride starts in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania and continues into New York. While biking 100 miles isn’t easy, Ben and Yogi Weiskind said the reason behind their long ride makes it all worthwhile.
As the duo train for a very long ride, they have a special young lady in mind.
“About eight years ago, Yogi’s sister, Sarah, and my daughter, she had a heart transplant, and for a child at the age of 10, to have a heart transplant is pretty traumatic,” said Ben Weiskind.
Doctors think Sarah caught a bug that ruined her heart — the transplant saved her life, but she lost her hearing and some sense of normality.
“When you’re a transplant patient, you have a lot of different restrictions that you didn’t have before in life,” Ben Weiskind said. “(There are) certain foods that she can’t eat. She’s on immunosuppressant medicine for the rest of her life that prevents the body from rejecting the organ, and she just has to be much more careful with what she does.”
Chai Lifeline has helped support Sarah through it all. For the past seven years, she has attended Chai Lifeline’s Camp Simcha Special, an overnight camp where children who are sick can have fun and be around people who get it.
“It means a lot to me. It gave me a lot of confidence, help, support with everything that was going on,” Sarah said.
The camp costs about $10,000 per camper. So, Sarah’s dad and 13-year-old brother are biking to raise money to send more kids to camp. This year marks Ben Weiskind’s seventh ride and Yogi’s first.
“I just can’t wait to walk through the finish line. It’s going to hurt most of the time, but hopefully, we will finish it,” Yogi said.
“As much as I enjoy cycling, when I get to mile 70 and it’s 95 degrees out and I’m climbing a mountain, it hurts horribly. But then you see that sign and you see the picture of the kid on it who is going through much harder things in life than I’ve ever gone through and all that doesn’t matter,” Ben Weiskind said.
The ride, which starts Wednesday and lasts until Thursday, normally raises between $7 million and $10 million, but this year, they’re raising even more.