BANGOR, Maine — Jeff Bennett, who was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago, and a group of friends from The County are bicycling from Fort Kent to Kittery over Labor Day weekend to raise funds and awareness in the fight against cancer.
The group has dubbed the ride “Spokes for Hope.”
“This ride is much more than the bike or the accomplishment of the ride — it is about giving hope,” Bennett said in a press release. “Hope to those with cancer to continue the fight, hope to those who have won their battle to live life again, and hope that we all will find a cure for cancer.”
The ride begins Sept. 3 in Fort Kent and is scheduled to end five days later in Kittery.
“Cancer has affected the lives of each rider,” Bennett said.
Spokes for Hope riders are Stephanie Caverhill and Jonathan Kelley of Caribou, Melanie Stewart and Kyle Washington of Presque Isle, and Bennett. The support team, which will accompany the five-some in a car, is made up of Denise Young of Presque Isle and Kelly Kelley of Caribou.
Riders are expected to make it to Houlton on the first day, to Bangor on the second, then Augusta and Portland before arriving in Kittery.
Bennett was playing golf in 2003 when he noticed a bump on his right breast. At first he thought it was a bug bite. He never dreamed it was breast cancer.
Bennett, who was 41 at the time, was tested and a biopsy determined the bump was cancerous. With no family history of cancer, the diagnosis came as a surprise to the athletic man who never smoked.
To fight the aggressive stage-two breast cancer, he had his right breast tissue removed and went through four cycles of chemotherapy.
“One hundred percent of the proceeds raised this year will go to two great cancer organizations: The Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing,” a Web site about the Spokes for Hope ride states. “All proceeds will go to benefit these organizations, each team member will be covering their own expenses for this event.”
The MOJO Bicycle Shop in Presque Isle is the group’s “official supplier of goo’s, energy bars, and endless chamois butter,” the site states.
Those interested in making donations are directed by the Web site to the riders’ Livestrong accounts, and those of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Patrick Dempsey Center. Anyone who would like more information about the Spokes for Hope ride can contact Jeff Bennett at 944-5875 or visit spokesforhope.com.