Father Cycles for his Kids and Other Children Struggling with a Serious Illness
For the last six years, Starlight dad Jerry McNeil has hit the road to cycle for Starlight in the Annual Rodman Ride for Kids. As part of Starlight Children’s Foundation’s Bike Team, he raises funds for Starlight’s local New England programs that brighten the lives of seriously ill children. Jerry rides for all of Starlight’s children and families, but most importantly, for his own sons, J.T. and Nicholas.
When J.T. was 4, he was diagnosed with a condition that forces him to deal with chronic pain. This news came around the same time his younger brother, Nicholas, was having kidney surgery. J.T.’s 1st grade teacher, who witnessed J.T.’s daily struggles, told the McNeils about Starlight, and they have been part of Starlight’s community since J.T.’s diagnosis and regularly attend Starlight’s Great Escape family activities.
The Rodman Ride for Kids brings together a generous group of people dedicated to helping children in need across New England and raises critical funds for Starlight’s local programs that touch the lives of more than 100,000 children and families in the region. Through the Ride, Jerry McNeil has raised close to $5,000 for Starlight.
“The Ride is a way for me to say thank you to Starlight, but it’s also a way to give hope to other Starlight families,” says Jerry. “My entire family participates; my wife and sons volunteer and greet me and all the finishers at the finish line!” Jerry has recruited cousins from Carver, MA, secured support from his brother and sisters, and has invited everyone he knows to support Starlight by making a donation through his personal fundraising page.
One day, J.T. and Nicholas hope to ride with their dad, even if it is just the last mile or two. Until that is possible, the boys will cheer their dad on, as he cycles for Starlight New England!
The Rodman Ride for Kids is an umbrella matching gift charity that raises funds for child-related social service agencies in Massachusetts. The Ride and its 25 affiliated agencies fundraise year-round, culminating with the Ride event, when 1,200 cyclists participate in a 25, 50, or 100-mile non-competitive cycling tour. Since 1991, the Ride has raised more than $37 million for at-risk children. All expenses with the Ride are underwritten, so that 100% of all donations raised go directly to Starlight. In addition, once Starlight reaches its goal of $12,000.00, the Ride will match the donations by 10%.