Inspirational endeavor

Madison cyclist Pritchard
rides for cancer fundraiser

Bicyclists to ride from
Louisville to Lexington, Ky.

By Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

(May 2009) – When a cancer survivor hits the milestone of being one year cancer free, it is natural to look for a way to celebrate the accomplishment.

Tom Pritchard

Photo provided

Tom Pritchard will
cycle in the “The
Ride to Conquer
Cancer,” on Sept. 26-27
and will cover 150 miles.

Deciding to embark on a 150-mile bicycle ride might be one of the more unusual ways to commemorate such good news. However, that is exactly what Madison, Ind., cyclist and cancer survivor Tom Pritchard has done. He signed up for the “Ride to Conquer Cancer” after becoming inspired by television and radio ads announcing the charity ride.
“It looks like it will be a very fun event,” Pritchard, 57, says enthusiastically.
“The Ride to Conquer Cancer” will take place Sept. 26-27 and will cover 150 miles with riders cycling 75 miles from Louisville to Lexington and then back again.
Money raised will go toward funding Norton Cancer Institute programs including therapy and cure research as well as prevention programs and screenings. Those interested in becoming involved can sign up to ride themselves or can donate money in support of other riders. Pritchard has set a goal of raising $2,500 through his ride.
“For me, I’m probably looking at between six and eight hours riding the 75,” Pritchard explains. On the first day the riders will go from Louisville to Lexington, and then “Sunday we will reverse the route, all the hills we got to go down we now have to go back up!” he laughs. Upon arrival back in Louisville, the riders will be welcomed by family and friends.
“A lot of people cheer,” says Pritchard, “Those who are cancer survivors will have a flag that we will carry. It will be a pretty nice thing to see.”
Pritchard is no stranger to long hours on his bike as an enthusiastic member of the Madison Area Bicycle Club. “I ride to work a lot when the weather permits,” he explains, describing the various routes he takes to his job at Clifty Engineering.“I try to get 1,000 miles a year if I can,” and he aims for a least one 100 mile ride each year.
As an avid cyclist, Pritchard is undaunted by the distance of the ride. Instead, he reflects,”My biggest concern, one thing – being able to raise the money with the way the economy is right now.”
So far he has been finding success with an e-mail campaign, and donations have also been coming in through the event’s website. “It’s really convenient to go to to the webpage. I’ve been getting $25, $50, $100 donations,” he reports. Pritchard has experience with similar fund raising events, having previously participated in the MS-150, a ride from Cincinnati to Louisville that raised money for multiple sclerosis research.
While such a ride is a great challenge, Pritchard’s eagerness to get involved in a good cause is certainly no surprise to those who know him. For the past several years, his love of community service and cycling have inspired his work with the Madison Heritage Trail, a project that aims to provide a safe walking and biking link between downtown and Hilltop Madison.
Karen Bump, who originated the idea of the project back in the mid-1990s, says of Pritchard, “He’s been instrumental I’d say in getting the trail where it is today. He has a passion for bike riding and the community. He’s been a very tireless supporter.”
Bob Greene, who serve as the Trail Volunteer Project coordinator says of Pritchard: “His long-term dedication and enthusiasm have been vital to the development of the Trail. Even from his hospital bed, when I visited him last year at the IU Medical Center, he displayed his indomitable spirit by expressing his determination to recover as soon as possible and continue his involvement with the Heritage Trail.”
Pritchard currently serves as president of the Heritage Trail Project. “The Ride to Conquer Cancer” allows Pritchard to combine his love of biking with a way to support a cause in which he holds a personal stake. “I’ve always been involved in cycling and thought it would be a good way to give back.”

• To donate to Tom Pritchard’s fundraising efforts or to learn more about the Ride to Conquer Cancer, visit www.RideToVictory.org and search for his name under “Sponsor a Participant.” For more information on the Heritage Trail or to volunteer, contact Bob Greene at (317) 696-0860 or via e-mail at: RobertRGreene@gmail.com.

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