Nearly 600 cyclists, including approximately 70 Lakewood riders, Supporting Chai Lifeline Kids in 10th Annual Bike4Chai

On August 14-15, nearly 600 cyclists, including 72 from the Lakewood area, will ride 180 miles across three states as part of Bike4Chai.

Now in its tenth year, the annual cycling event raises funds for Chai Lifeline, the international children’s health support network which provides emotional, social, and financial assistance to children with life-threatening or lifelong illnesses and their families.

“Bike4Chai brings out the best in people,” said Yoel Margolese, director of Bike4Chai. “It gives participants the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of people living with illness, while also taking part in a world class cycling experience.”

The event begins in Princeton, New Jersey, on the morning of August 14. Cyclists will spend the next day and a half riding along scenic routes in New Jersey and the Pocono mountains until they reach The World’s Greatest Finish Line, the entrance to Camp Simcha Special, Chai Lifeline’s overnight camp for children with chronic illnesses and disabilities in Glen Spey, New York. There, the cyclists will be greeted by campers, many of whom require wheelchairs, respirators, or other medical equipment to survive, as well as hundreds of family and staff members, who will celebrate along with them.

Lakewood resident Yossi Rotberg is participating in Bike4Chai for the fourth year. Rotberg, an IT professional and married father of three, was born with a physical disability but was determined to defy limits.

“Growing up, I had physical challenges that delayed developmental milestones such as walking, but at 9 years old I learned how to ride a bicycle,” he said. “Since then I’ve continued to take on more hurdles. I never let my challenges define me. I’m not here to race; my goal is to accomplish whatever I can do to the best of my abilities. I’ve come a long way from my first year when I completed fifty miles, last year I managed to make it to one hundred!”

Rotberg mused how he would be prepared once we reach the finish line. “Every year I say I’m not going to get emotional when arriving at the finish line at Camp Simcha, but I always do. If my ride inspires even just one child or a parent to make them think that one day, their child can do whatever they put their mind to, I feel accomplished.”

Ezriel Frankel, a real estate agent from Lakewood, has been riding in Bike4Chai for five years.

“As a hospital volunteer I have seen first-hand the work Chai Lifeline does and words cannot describe it,” said Frankel. “The assistance they provide for families with medical crises and chronic illness during those times is well-thought out, ensuring that the big things are taken care of as well as the small things with their meals on wheels, volunteer drivers and providing entertainment for the kids. I am so proud to help support this incredible organization that brings comfort and joy to so many families in need.”

“The power of Bike4Chai emanates from the cyclists,” said Rabbi Sruli Fried, director of Chai Lifeline NJ and executive director of Bike4Chai. “Their dedication to the cause is reflected in the unity and camaraderie of the group throughout the ride.”

Bike4Chai benefits Chai Lifeline’s more than two dozen year-round programs and services, including professional case management; counseling; meal delivery to hospitals and homes; transportation to medical appointments; the summer experience of a lifetime for children with cancer and chronic illnesses at Camp Simcha and Camp Simcha Special; Project Chai crisis intervention, trauma and bereavement workshops for families, schools and communities; insurance advocacy; family retreats and respite; i-Shine afterschool national programs for children living with illness or loss in their homes; and more.

“These cyclists serve as an inspiration to all of us,” said Rabbi Simcha Scholar, CEO of Chai Lifeline. “With every mile they ride and every dollar they raise, they show our children and families that they care and that they are not alone in their battle against pediatric illness.”

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