Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sun City retirees bicycle 2,400 miles to raise money for pediatric cancer research

SUN CITY CENTER

As family, friends and neighbors looked on, the bike riders pedaled into Sun City Center. Tired and strained by their 2,400-mile cross-country journey, the men beamed at the cheering spectators, many of whom donned bright green T-shirts in their honor.

The bikers, who had pedaled for months, were almost home, nearing the end of their ride to raise funds and promote awareness of pediatric cancer. At the finish line on April 30, a large crowd awaited their arrival at the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center with balloons, a barbecue and live music.

"I'm so happy! I just want to hug him and not let go of him," Frances Lex said of her husband of 51 years, Adolf Lex. "It's been two months and 65 days exactly. We were never apart for that long."

On March 2, Mike Libenson, John Bear, Lex and Mike Brown began their journey. They aimed to ride from Sun City, Ariz., to Sun City Center, Fla. Their effort was about more than physical fitness or sport. The men rode as part of SammyRides, a group Libenson founded in honor of his granddaughter, Sammy Rotman, who died from osteosarcoma in 2008 at the age of 9. The men sought to raise money to support cancer research and to disprove stereotypes about retirees.

"Our average age is 70," said Libenson, 73. "We're in good shape, and our message is to try and stay in good shape as much as you can so that you're not a drain on society, but you're an engine to society. The elderly are not ready for the dust bin."

The men said they raised more than $110,000 for SammyRides. Through Team Will, a California organization that raises money for cancer research, they will distribute the money to hospitals and other cancer researchers.

"Bottom line, we just really want to help save lives," Libenson said.

Each of the riders used smart phones to communicate with family back home. Lois Libenson, Mike Libenson's wife, drove alongside the riders and helped update the team's blog.

Just hours before reaching the finish line in Sun City Center, the riders arrived in Tampa and visited pediatric cancer patients at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital. The final leg of the journey was captured on the blog:

Our riders are just 25 miles from home doing what they do best: bringing smiles to the faces of children, who with the help of all our SammyRides friends, will also be able to find their way home again. This has been an incredible journey for all of us.

Jonathan Milton can be reached at hillsnews@sptimes.com.

Sun City retirees bicycle 2,400 miles to raise money for pediatric cancer research 05/05/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 5, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  5. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle