Biker Riding Cross-Country
Raising funds to fight cystic fibrosis
Who would have thought that riding a motorcycle cross-country might help save lives? Ed Shevlin has never doubted it.
|Ed “Shevy” Shevlin is biking cross-country to raise money for 5-month-old Anthony Smith.
46-year-old sanitation worker from Rockaway Park may look tough judging
by his tattooed facade, but he has a huge heart. He has directed his
passion for helping others to riding his Harley Davidson from Rockaway
Beach, Queens to Rockaway Beach, Oregon to raise money for cystic
“I know a lot of people who have it and I
realized I could raise a significant amount of money,” said Shevlin,
whose friends have called him “Shevy” since his third grade teacher
coined the name.
Before leaving for his three-and-a-half-week
journey on July 14, Shevlin raised more than $7,000 to donate to the
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He said he hopes to raise $50,000 by the
end of his trip with additional contributions from people who are
sponsoring him by the mile. His trip is estimated to cover 8,000 to
“When I go out on my route as a sanitation man
people are congratulating me and telling me they love the idea of going
on the trip for cystic fibrosis,” he explained. “They're telling me to
stop so they can write a check.”
story also has a personal twist. He has dedicated his ride to the
relative of a friend, Bob Cawthorne, a retired city sanitation worker
whose 5-month-old grandson, Anthony Smith, has cystic fibrosis.
Moreover, within days of Shevlin's departure, Anthony's father,
Sergeant First Class Eric Smith, was redeployed to Iraq for his second
tour of duty. In October, Cawthorne will move to Savannah, GA to help
take care of his grandson.
daughter, Claire Cawthorne-Smith, a loan officer in a bank, travels
frequently from Savannah to Atlanta - a 250-mile trip - to get
treatment for her son.
“She makes a little vacation out of it,” Cawthorne says of the trips she takes with her infant son.
fibrosis is a disease that causes the body to produce abnormally thick
mucus, clogging airways and often leading to life-threatening lung
infections, as well as obstructing the pancreas and preventing the
absorption and digestion of food. It affects 30,000 people in the
United States, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. People with
the disease do not normally live past their 30s.
has also traveled through Maine, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ireland, England
and Wales on his motorcycle, is not doing his adventure for cystic
fibrosis alone. Although he is the only rider raising money for the
disease, he will meet up with members of the Harley Davidson Owners
Group in Delaware and then ride to Oregon.
Shevlin can count
more then his fellow riders as friends and supporters, however. He
admits he is well known in Rockaway Park as a lifelong resident. He is
also dedicated to local civic associations.
“I'm very involved
in Irish affairs and everybody knows me from that,” Shevlin said. “A
lot of the kids I grew up with are now adults and I know them and their
children. It's a small town.”
The night before his departure,
friends threw Shevlin a going-away fundraising bash at Jameson's Pub in
Rockaway Park, where a sanitation workers' pipe band also performed.
Shevlin hoped the event would help him get closer to his fundraising
Raising money for charity is not new to Shevlin, who has
also biked for breast cancer awareness. He believes it is incumbent
upon healthy, capable individuals to help those who are less fortunate.
no one else is going to do it then I'll be the one that takes the
mantel of responsibility to help people,” he said. “I think that more
people should take the initiative upon themselves.”
|Aug 27, 2007 7:53 PM ET
20 min. delayed