MADRID — The 16th annual Ride to Breathe will likely be the last for this long-running fundraiser for cystic fibrosis.

The ride’s organizer, Jennifer A. Dean said the 16th year seemed appropriate to be her last.

Ms. Deane started the ride soon after her daughter Bethany was diagnosed with the disease.

Bethany succumbed to disease on her second birthday.

“Bethany would have been 16 this year,” Ms. Dean wrote in a letter to the Times. “I figured this would be the perfect place to hang my shirt. Over these last 16 years it has given hope, love and has added more tomorrows to those afflicted with this disease.”

Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.

Dealing with cystic fibrosis is a daily struggle, Ms. Dean said. It is also very expensive and families need help with the cost.

“So, I started this ride in hopes that families do not need to go through what we have,” she wrote. “I will never forget my daughter Bethany. She will always be in my heart, but this ride gives me a sense of accomplishment, not for myself but a sense that not only I, but everyone that has donated to this cause has a sense of accomplishment.”

The poker run, which will cover 125 miles, starts and ends at the Smokehouse in Madrid on June 7. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the ride starts at 11 a.m. The cost is $20 for a single rider, $30 for a double. Dinner only is $8 and extra T-shirts are $15.

Proceeds benefit the research and therapeutics development programs of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The route is a little different from previous years, Ms. Dean said. Riders will leave the Smokehouse and head to Colton and then on to Tupper Lake.

There will be a barbecue, a 50/50, music and raffles when riders return to the Smokehouse.

Bikes and cars are welcome at the event, Ms. Dean said. She would especially like people to come to the Smokehouse just to hang out while waiting for the riders to come back.

There is a story in the cystic fibrosis community about a mother in the 1960s who had three sons who had the disease and worked as a volunteer for the foundation. Her 4-year-old son told her he know what she was working for, even though he did not know he had the disease or know what his mother was doing.

He told her she was working for 65 roses – the closest he could come to pronouncing the name.

“This year, it would be great if riders or whoever comes to support the cause could bring a rose,” Ms. Dean wrote. “I would love to be able to collect 65 roses this year.”

For more information call Ms. Dean at 315-854-0745 or email jdean9@twcny.rr.com.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

St. Lawrence/Franklin County Editor

Slowly self-propelled. Two-time cancer survivor. Nearly 30-year newspaper veteran.

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