After reading Mitch Albom’s bestselling book “Tuesdays with Morrie,” Bob Lee became inspired to redirect his life and give back to the community.
In 2001, the Barrington resident and JourneyCare volunteer embarked on his first Ride for 3 Reasons, a solo bike ride of more than 3,200 miles, from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla., to raise awareness and funds benefiting causes dear to his heart. One of these is hospice, and part of his proceeds will benefit JourneyCare and the National Hospice Foundation.
By the time Bob completed his third Ride in 2012, he had cycled over 12,000 miles and raised $1.3 million.
In 2007, after completing his second ride, Bob made a presentation to a group of elementary school students, “If You Can Dream It, You Can Achieve It.” A 9-year-old third-grader, Jan Gierlach, grew intrigued.
“I remember being so enchanted with the idea of riding across the country,” he shared. “The dream has stuck with me ever since.”
Now 17 years old and a high school senior, Jan will carry on Bob’s mission and ride his bike along the same southern perimeter that Bob followed for the first Ride and champion the same three causes through local charities: JourneyCare and the National Hospice Foundation; Les Turner ALS Foundation and Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University.
Like Bob, Jan has personal connections to the causes. He lost a grandfather to lung cancer, a close friend to ALS and he witnessed the comfort and great care his grandmother received through hospice. Jan’s mom, Doris, has been a longtime volunteer with JourneyCare and his labradoodle, Otis, is a certified therapy dog and frequent visitor to one of JourneyCare’s Inpatient Hospice CareCenters.
After working with his high school counselor to get everything in place to graduate a semester early, Jan started mapping out his own Ride for 3 Reasons, which will begin in February. His 3,300-mile solo bike ride will take him from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla. He’s carrying all the supplies he will need on his bike, from clothing to camping gear, for what he estimates will be a 10-week journey.
For more information about Ride for 3 Reasons and to support Jan, go to www.ridefor3reasons.org.